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IBM to build its first European quantum data center

12 Jun 2023

Facility in Ehningen, Germany, set to open in 2024; to serve “expanding ecosystem”.

On June 6, IBM announced plans to open its first Europe-based quantum data center to facilitate access to cutting-edge quantum computing for companies, research institutions and government agencies. The data center is expected to be operational in 2024, with multiple IBM quantum computing systems, each with “utility scale quantum processors”, meaning those of more than 100 qubits.

The data center will be located at IBM’s facility in Ehningen, Germany, and will serve as IBM Quantum’s European cloud region. Users in Europe and elsewhere in the world will be able to provision services at the data center for their cloud-based quantum computing research and exploratory activity.

The data center is being designed to help clients continue to manage their European data regulation requirements, including processing all job data within EU borders. The facility will be IBM’s second quantum data center and quantum cloud region, after the first was opened in Poughkeepsie, New York, in January, 2019.

“Europe has some of the world’s most advanced users of quantum computers, and interest is only accelerating with the era of utility scale quantum processors,” said Jay Gambetta, IBM Fellow and Vice President of IBM Quantum. “The planned quantum data center and associated cloud region will give European users a new option as they seek to tap the power of quantum computing in an effort to solve some of the world's most challenging problems.”

Ana Paula Assis, IBM General Manager for EMEA, added, “Our quantum data center in Europe is an integral piece of our global endeavor. It will provide new opportunities for our clients to collaborate side-by-side with our scientists in Europe, as well as their own clients, as they explore how best to apply quantum in their industry.”

The IBM Quantum Network currently has more than 60 organizations across Europe accessing quantum hardware and software via the cloud, including Bosch; Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron; the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN); and Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft.

Dr. Raoul Klingner, Director Research at Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, commented, “We are happy and proud to support the IBM Quantum team’s decision to set up their European quantum data center in Ehningen. The choice of location in the state of Baden-Wurttemberg will further strengthen the ecosystem that Fraunhofer has built with customers and partners from industry and research.”

IBM’s $100M plan to develop ‘100,000 Qubit’ supercomputer

In May, 2023 – while attending the G7 Summit in Japan – IBM announced a 10-year, $100 million initiative with the University of Tokyo and the University of Chicago to develop a quantum-centric supercomputer powered by 100,000 qubits.

At the time, IBM said “a 100,000-qubit system would serve as a foundation to address some of the world's most pressing problems that even the most advanced supercomputers of today may never be able to solve.”

For example, such a powerful quantum system could unlock new understandings of chemical reactions and the dynamics of molecular processes. In turn, this could enable researchers to help study climate change through modeling better methods to capture carbon; discover materials to build batteries for electric vehicles and energy grids towards the goal of being cleaner and more sustainable; and uncover more effective and energy-efficient fertilizers.

IBM stated that it intends to expand on the new the Tokyo and Chicago partnerships to include Argonne National Laboratory and Fermilab National Accelerator Laboratory. It commented, “These two laboratories offer capabilities and expertise that can facilitate delivering the technologies envisaged in the race to build a quantum-centric supercomputer.”

Arvind Krishna, Chairman and CEO, IBM, said, “We have achieved significant progress along our roadmap and mission to globally establish useful quantum technology, so much so that we can now, with our partners, truly begin to explore and develop a new class of supercomputing anchored by quantum.”

AlluxaMad City Labs, Inc.Iridian Spectral TechnologiesUniverse Kogaku America Inc.Berkeley Nucleonics CorporationHÜBNER PhotonicsSPECTROGON AB
© 2024 SPIE Europe
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