The Center was established in September 2020 to support quantum research and education and to increase the number of under-served students entering the field of quantum information science and engineering. The Center provides opportunities for student scholarships, fellowships and internships, research funding, curriculum development assistance and other benefits to member campuses.
“This partnership will strengthen NCCU research and educational capacities by opening more opportunities for faculty development and student training in an important emerging field that is poised to dominate science and economics and the future job market,” said Branislav Vlahovic, Ph.D., professor of physics and director of the Computational Center for Research Excellence in Science and Technology (CREST) at NCCU.
CREST was established more than a decade ago by Vlahovic, Alade Takuta, Ph.D., and other NCCU faculty to advance computational science at the university. NCCU’s goal is to establish its own quantum computing program focused on advancing science and development of new materials.
“It is the future coming right at us,” Vlahovic said. “We need to train our faculty and students to be ready.”
Quantum computing requires skills beyond the traditional computing curriculum. Where classical computers use bits, ones and zeros, to manipulate data, quantum computers use quantum bits, or qubits, that can be in a combination of states between zero and one. This ability to explore potential compute spaces increases exponentially with the number of qubits, giving quantum computers the possibility of processing information much faster and at much larger scale than with classical computers.
"IBM’s priority in launching the Center is to support and facilitate quantum research and education for HBCU faculty and students as part of the growing quantum workforce,” said Dr. Kayla Lee, product manager for Community Partnerships, IBM Quantum.
“We’re proud to continue building on the momentum of the founding institutions and looking forward to collaborating with North Carolina Central University to build a quantum future.”
In addition to NCCU, the other 9 universities joining the IBM-HBCU Quantum Center today are: Alabama State University, Bowie State University, Delaware State University, Dillard University, Florida A&M University, Norfolk State University, South Carolina State University, Tennessee State University and the University of the District of Columbia.
The 23 HBCUs participating in the Center were prioritized based on their research and education focus in physics, engineering, mathematics, computer science, and other STEM fields. For more information about the IBM-HBCU Quantum Center, read HBCU Center Driving Diversity and Inclusion in Quantum Computing.