March 20, 2024

Member Spotlight: RPI Celebrates Bicentennial with IBM Quantum System One Reveal

The quantum computer, the first of its kind to be housed at any university in the world, will further the vision of making the Hudson River Valley “Quantum Valley”

 On April 5, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and IBM will reveal the first IBM quantum computer in the world to be deployed on a university campus, and the Capital Region community is invited to take part.

The reveal is part of a series of quantum computing events held April 3 – 5, and is free and open to the public. Highlights include a live podcast recording (April 3) and a keynote talk from best-selling author and award-winning technology and science journalist David Pogue (April 4). View the full schedule and register online.

The morning of April 5 will kick off with a ceremonial ribbon cutting followed by remarks from RPI President Martin A. Schmidt ’81, Ph.D.; IBM Chairman and CEO Arvind Krishna, Ph.D.; senior New York state elected officials; Vice Chair of the RPI Board of Trustees Curtis R. Priem ’82; Chair of the RPI Board of Trustees John E. Kelly III, ’78G, ’80 Ph.D., D.H.L. (Hon.); RPI students in the Quantum Computing Club; and others.

A reception featuring RPI’s Bicentennial ice cream, Quantum Freeze, will conclude the ribbon-cutting celebration held in the Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center.

Founded in 1824, RPI is marking its Bicentennial this year by recognizing 200 years of firsts. The IBM Quantum System One represents an important first for the university’s third century. Having the system on campus will bring unprecedent educational, research, and workforce development opportunities to RPI and partnering academic institutions and organizations across the Capital Region and New York.

During the groundbreaking ceremony for the system held last October, Schmidt said that the quantum system “is an enormous win, not just for RPI, but for the region. It is part of a surge of regional strength in all aspects of computing. Today we are headed even deeper into the future. New York’s Hudson River Valley has the potential to become Quantum Valley.”

Located in the university’s Voorhees Computing Center, a historic chapel, the IBM quantum computer is encased in museum-quality glass and surrounded by stained glass windows. Construction and installation of the roughly five-ton machine required significant engineering and architectural ingenuity. However, thanks to the strong RPI-IBM partnership, the idea to put a quantum computer on the RPI campus, proposed last March, has quickly become a reality.

The IBM Quantum System One will be part of RPI’s new Curtis Priem Quantum Constellation, an endowed center for collaborative research, which will prioritize the hiring of additional faculty leaders who will leverage the quantum computing system. IBM will provide research guidance and resources. Regional partners in academia and industry will also have access to this exceptional research tool.

Osama Raisudden, an RPI doctoral student in aerospace engineering, uses the technology to simulate engineering problems that would be too time intensive and expensive on classical computers.

“When I chose to pursue quantum computing as my Ph.D. research topic at RPI, I had no idea that the one-of-a-kind resource of an IBM Quantum System One on campus would one day be available to me,” said Raisuddin. “Not only will it be beneficial for my research, but it will give me a leg up in my career because I will have exceptional access to quantum education, training, and research groups at RPI.”