IBM, Google Award University of Chicago $150M for Quantum Computing Projects

The funds will be used to develop a "quantum-centric supercomputer" in conjunction with the University of Tokyo.
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Matthew Arrojas is a news reporter at BestColleges covering higher education issues and policy. He previously worked as the hospitality and tourism news reporter at the South Florida Business Journal. He also covered higher education policy issues as...
Published on May 24, 2023
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  • IBM is investing $100 million, while Google will invest another $50 million.
  • The goal is to deliver a new supercomputing system by 2033.
  • This announcement during the G7 Summit is the latest in a string of higher education investments from IBM and Google.

New investments into the University of Chicago aim to create the world's first "quantum-centric supercomputer."

The university announced during the G7 Summit in Japan on Sunday that tech giants IBM and Google would invest $100 million and $50 million, respectively, into the university. While each company's investments have slightly different goals, they are united in that all $150 million will go toward the field of quantum computing.

Funds will be shared with the University of Tokyo. The U.S. and Japan announced other deals to improve collaboration on various economic issues.

"Achieving breakthroughs at scale in quantum technology requires deeply rooted and productive collaboration around the world and across a broad range of industry, academic and government partners," Paul Alivisatos, president of the University of Chicago, said in a statement.

IBM's $100 million investment will go toward developing the world's first 100,000-qubit system by 2033. According to IBM, such a development would increase the accuracy and speed of supercomputers. It would allow this technology to perform more useful functions.

The company chose to invest in the University of Chicago in part because of its Chicago Quantum Exchange. The Exchange operates a 124-mile quantum network to study long-range quantum communication.

"We recognize how challenging it will be to build a 100,000-qubit system," IBM wrote in its statement. "But we see the path before us — we have our list of known knowns and known unknowns."

Google's $50 million investment will include research grants for faculty, as well as graduate and undergraduate research projects. Google also aims to spur more entrepreneurship in the field of quantum computing and workforce development for physicists and other specialists needed to develop a "full-scale fault-tolerant quantum computer."

Google promised to share its advanced quantum processors with researchers at the University of Chicago.

"Advancing the field of quantum computing is an immense task that will require universities, companies, and governments working together to ensure responsible development and widespread benefits for society," the company said in a statement.

These investments are the latest in a trend of tech companies pouring funds into workforce development and research projects at U.S. institutions.

Google expanded its certificate programs at community colleges in mid-2022. It then launched a pilot program to introduce these programs into more rural community colleges in June 2022.