Open Menu Close Menu

Quantum Computing

13 Schools Join New IBM HBCU Quantum Center Program

Thirteen Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) have signed on with IBM to participate in a new IBM-HBCU Quantum Center, which will give the institutions access to quantum computers and provide academic opportunities for students. The commitment also includes what IBM values as a $100 million investment in technology, assets, resources and skills development for five of those HBCU schools and eight others through the IBM Skills Academy Academic Initiative. The quantum center program is being led by Howard University.

The new center was announced during the recent IBM Quantum Summit. The program will provide participating schools access to IBM quantum computers via the cloud, educational support for students learning to use the Qiskit open source software development kit, and funding for undergraduate and graduate research. The goal is to create a more diverse "quantum-ready workforce" from students majoring in physics, chemistry, computer science, business and other subjects.

A second goal for the center is to provide research openings for undergraduates and graduate students, to increase the number of Black students educated in quantum information science and engineering (QISE) and strengthen faculty QISE research efforts at HBCUs.

A third goal is to connect talent to the quantum research community. An IBM quantum team is building a platform to showcase research activities and accomplishments that includes mentoring, sponsorships and championing quantum-trained students throughout their college careers, with scholarships, fellowships and internships.

The 13 HBCUs that have committed to participating in the quantum center were selected based on their research and education focus in physics, engineering, mathematics, computer science and other STEM fields. They include:

"Howard University has prioritized our efforts to support our students' pathway to STEM fields for many years with exciting results as we witness more and more graduates becoming researchers, scientists and engineers with renown national companies," said Howard President Wayne Frederick, in a statement. "Our faculty and students look forward to collaborating with our peer institutions through the IBM-HBCU Quantum Center. We're excited to share best practices and work together to prepare students to participate in a quantum-ready workforce."

"We believe that in order to expand opportunity for diverse populations, we need a diverse talent pipeline of the next generation of tech leaders from HBCUs. Diversity and inclusion [are] what fuels innovation and students from HBCUs will be positioned to play a significant part of what will drive innovations for the future like quantum computing, cloud and artificial intelligence," added Carla Grant Pickens, IBM chief global diversity & inclusion officer.

The additional $100 million donation through the IBM Skills Academy consists of sponsoring university guest lectures, curriculum content, digital badges, software and faculty training to specific HBCUs. The academy, part of the IBM's Global University Programs, is a program for helping students gain foundational skills in technologies that they'll need in the workforce. Learning tracks cover artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, blockchain, design thinking and quantum computing.

The HBCUs that are part of the Skills Academy include:

"Early touchpoints with new technology, like quantum computing, help increase the likelihood of capturing interest in the subject and is critical for underrepresented communities," wrote Benita Zazueta, Quantum Academic Partnership lead for IBM Quantum, and Kayla Lee, product manager for community partnerships, in an article on the IBM research blog. "The new center offers a pathway to quantum computing resources and a platform to enable students to demonstrate their abilities in a way that helps connect Black talent with the larger quantum research community."

comments powered by Disqus