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IBM launches first quantum education and research initiative for HBCUs


By David Schwartz
Published: September 22nd, 2020

IBM is launching its first IBM quantum education and research initiative for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) in a bid to drive more diversity in the quantum workforce.

Led by Howard University and 12 other HBCUs, the IBM-HBCU Quantum Center will offer access to its quantum computers and collaborate with the schools on academic, education, and community outreach programs. 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.

“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,” said Carla Grant Pickens, chief global diversity & inclusion officer for the computer giant.

IBM is making a multi-year investment in the new center to prepare and develop talent at HBCUs from all STEM disciplines for the quantum future. It will emphasize the power of community and focus on developing students through support and funding for research opportunities, curriculum development, workforce advocacy, and special projects. 

“Diversity is a source of competitive advantage, essential to create a thriving quantum industry,” said Dario Gil, director of IBM Research. “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.”

In the related investment in the Skills Academy Academic Initiative in Global University Programs, IBM is donating more than $100M in assets, including university guests lectures, curriculum content, digital badges, software and faculty training to select HBCUs by the end of 2020. The program is designed to create a foundation of diverse and high demand skill sets that directly correlate to what students will need to succeed in the workplace. The focus will be on key areas such as artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, blockchain, design thinking and quantum computing.

Source: Cision

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