Computer giant IBM has announced its first IBM Quantum education and research initiative for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU), “aimed at driving a diverse and inclusive quantum workforce”.

Led by Howard University (pictured) and 12 additional HBCUs, the IBM-HBCU Quantum Center will offer access to its quantum computers, as well as collaboration on academic, education, and community outreach programmes.

IBM will also make a $100 million investment in technology, assets, resources and skills development through partnerships with additional HBCUs through the IBM Skills Academy Academic Initiative.

Carla Grant Pickens, chief global diversity and inclusion officer at IBM
said: “We believe that in order to expand opportunity for diverse populations, we need a diverse talent pipeline of the next generation of tech leaders from HBCUs. Diversity and inclusion is what fuels innovation and students from HBCUs will be positioned to play a significant part of what will drive innovations for the future like quantum computing, cloud and artificial intelligence.”

The IBM-HBCU Quantum Center is a multi-year investment designed to prepare and develop talent at HBCUs from all STEM disciplines for the quantum future. It focus on developing students through support and funding for research opportunities, curriculum development, workforce advocacy, and special projects.

Dario Gil, director of IBM research, said: “Diversity is a source of competitive advantage, essential to create a thriving quantum industry. We could not be more excited about partnering with our HBCU colleagues to help educate and empower the first generation of quantum computing native students and researchers.”

The 13 HBCUs intending to participate in the Quantum Center were prioritised based on their research and education focus in physics, engineering, mathematics, computer science, and other STEM fields. They include: Albany State University, Clark Atlanta University, Coppin State University, Hampton University, Howard University, Morehouse College, Morgan State University, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, Southern University, Texas Southern University, University of the Virgin Islands, Virginia Union University, and Xavier University of Louisiana.

Date published: 30 September 2020

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