IBM Expands its Quantum Computing Program to Africa: University of Nairobi a Key Beneficiary

IBM Expands its Quantum Computing Program to Africa

The University of Nairobi is one of Africa’s universities selected to access IBM’s quantum computing, a first of its kind in the continent. IBM is bringing Quantum to Africa and will collaborate with 16 universities across Africa to train students and professors on the functionalities of this new computing paradigm, equipping future generations with the necessary skills for next era of technology.

“For Africa to remain competitive for the coming decades we must get the next generation of students quantum ready,” said Dr. Solomon Assefa, Vice President, Emerging Market Solutions and Director, IBM Research – Africa when announced a partnership with South Africa’s Wits University that will extend to 15 additional universities across 9 countries.

Wits will be the first African partner on the IBM Q Network, with academics across the continent set to use the technology for research purposes.

The University of Nairobi will have the opportunity to apply for access to IBM Q’s most advanced quantum computing systems and software for teaching quantum information science and exploring early applications.

As part of the partnership between IBM and Wits, scholars from sixteen African Research Universities Alliance (ARUA) universities including: Addis Ababa University; University of Ghana; University of Nairobi; University of Lagos; University of Ibadan; Obafemi Awolowo University lle-Ife; University of Rwanda; University Cheikh Anta Diop; University of Cape Town; University of Kwa-Zulu Natal; University of Pretoria; Rhodes University; University of Stellenbosch; University of the Witwatersrand; University of Dar es Salaam and Makerere University.

To gain access to the IBM Q quantum cloud service, ARUA scholars will be required to submit quality research proposals to a scientific committee of Wits and IBM experts for approval.

“Having access to IBM Q is pivotal for Wits University’s cross-disciplinary research program and allows our researchers in quantum computing, artificial intelligence, and in the broad natural sciences, including in laser technology, quantum optics and molecular design, to leverage the next level of discovery research. It’s envisioned that the first results from this collaboration will be forthcoming in the next two years,” said Vilakazi.

Quantum computing promises to be able to solve certain problems – such as chemical simulations and types of optimization – that will forever be beyond the practical reach of classical machines. IBM first made quantum computers available to the public in May 2016 through its IBM Q Experience quantum cloud service and has doubled the power of its quantum computers annually since 2017.

IBM established the IBM Q Network™, a community of Fortune 500 companies, startups, academic institutions and research labs working with IBM to advance quantum computing and explore practical applications for business and science.