IBM partners with Canadian province of Quebec in quantum computing push

FILE PHOTO: The logo for IBM is seen at the SIBOS banking and financial conference in Toronto, Ontario, Canada October 19, 2017. REUTERS/Chris Helgren/File Photo

MONTREAL (Reuters) - International Business Machines Corp is partnering with the Canadian province of Quebec to boost quantum computing in a collaboration that could help advance areas like battery development, a company official said on Thursday.

IBM is deploying the quantum computer known as IBM Quantum System One in Canada for the first time, which is expected to be available for use at its facility in Bromont, Quebec by early 2023, Anthony Annunziata, IBM's director of accelerated discovery, said in an interview.

The partnership with Quebec would integrate quantum computing with cloud technologies, high-performance computing and artificial intelligence (AI) to tackle broader challenges like the environment.

"Batteries are very tough to build and improve. We've been working on them for decades and progress is slow, incremental," he said.

"If we bring AI and quantum into the picture, that can start to change and we can actually start to understand what's happening at the heart of batteries and understand new materials and new processes to build much better ones."

The United States and other nations are in a race to develop quantum technology, which could fuel advances in artificial intelligence, materials science and chemistry.

Quantum computers could operate millions of times faster than today's advanced supercomputers.

The technology is based on quantum bits, or qubits, that can be 'superposed' on each other, exponentially increasing the amount of information that can be processed.

Annunziata said IBM has partnerships with similar objectives in the United States and the United Kingdom.

(Reporting by Allison Lampert in Montreal; Editing by Paul Simao)

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