Quantum computing is still uncommon enough that simply installing a system in a country is considered a breakthrough, and IBM is capitalizing on that novelty. The company has formed a collaboration with the Canadian province of Quebec to build what it claims is Canada’s first universal quantum computer.
IBM will install a Quantum System One as part of a Quebec-IBM Discovery Accelerator project addressing scientific and commercial challenges over a five-year period.
The collaboration will see IBM and the Quebec government promote microelectronics work, including advancements in chip packaging, thanks to an existing IBM facility in the province.
The two also intend to demonstrate how quantum and classical computers can collaborate to solve scientific problems, and they anticipate that quantum-powered AI will aid in the discovery of new medicines.
IBM did not specify when the quantum computer would be installed. However, it will be only the fifth Quantum One installation by 2023, following similar collaborations in Germany, Japan, South Korea, and the United States. So Canada has joined a relatively exclusive club.
The country has a long history with quantum computing. After all, the contentious company D-Wave is based in Canada. Nonetheless, IBM’s move is significant. It provides Canada with a more generalized system capable of overcoming problems that are impractical to solve with conventional supercomputers.
This will not necessarily revolutionize Canada’s scientific community, but it may provide an advantage until quantum computing becomes more common.