Indian Institute of Technology Madras announced its collaboration with IBM on quantum computing education and research. This collaboration will provide IIT Madras faculty, researchers, and students with access to IBM’s quantum systems and tools over IBM Cloud to accelerate joint research in quantum computing, and develop curricula to help prepare students for careers that will be influenced by this next era of computing, across science and business.
The Quantum Computing Lab courses jointly taught by IIT Madras faculty and IBM researchers will include hands-on lab sessions on the IBM quantum systems and will augment existing courses on quantum information and computing. IBM will provide the learning resources, tools, and systems access needed by the faculty and students.
India has witnessed a huge spurt of activity in the quantum science and technology domain over the last few years, backed by Government initiatives including the ‘Quantum Enabled Science and Technologies’ (QuEST) program and the National Mission on Quantum Technologies and Applications (NMQTA).
The Metropolitan Area Quantum Access Network (MAQAN), and the Centre for Field Programmable Photonic Gate Arrays (FPPGAs) are large initiatives at IIT Madras, supported by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), Government of India.
Highlighting the unique aspects of this collaboration with IIT Madras, Dr. Gargi Dasgupta, Director, IBM Research India, said, “Quantum computing is fast emerging as one of the disruptive technologies of our times. IBM is committed to supporting educators like IIT Madras who are shaping the next generation of quantum innovators through various initiatives and programs. This collaboration with IIT Madras is part of the IBM Quantum Educators program that helps teachers in the quantum field connect with one another and provide learning resources, tools and systems access they need to provide quality educational experiences.”
Elaborating on the importance of Quantum Technology, Prof. Anil Prabhakar, Department of Electrical Engineering, IIT Madras, said, “Quantum computing offers us the opportunity to solve computationally intractable problems. We have played a leadership role in the indigenous development of quantum key distribution (QKD), having demonstrated distributed phase reference QKD at distances up to 150 km. Such QKD protocols form the building blocks for quantum networks that will secure our communications, and also enable new paradigms such as photonic quantum computing and distributed and blind quantum computing. Our demonstrations are backed by a growing portfolio of patents on technologies such as quantum random number and heralded photon generation.”
IIT Madras introduced the Interdisciplinary Dual Degree (IDDD) program on ‘Quantum Science and Technologies’ (QuEST) in July 2020. The Institute fosters a collaborative environment under a cluster of projects focused on Quantum Communication and Computation, Quantum Information Theory and Quantum Materials, boosting the research infrastructure in these areas, and funding international conferences and collaborations.
Courses such as Quantum Integer Programming, conducted alongside a similar course at the Tepper Business School, Carnegie Mellon, emphasize the advantages of hybrid quantum computing to areas as diverse as bin packing, image classification, channel decoding, and quantum state tomography.
The Quantum Computing Lab at IIT Madras will host courses for undergraduate and postgraduate students and better prepare for a career in quantum science and technology. Through our international collaborations with universities and with the support of industry partners such as IBM, our students gain opportunities to apply these skills to advanced theoretical and practical applications of quantum computing.