IBM Expands its Quantum Computing Program to Africa

IBM is expanding its quantum computing efforts to Africa in a new collaboration with the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits University) in South Africa. Wits University is the first African academic partner in the IBM Q Network and will be the gateway for academic collaboration across South Africa, and to the other 15 universities who are part of the African Research Universities Alliance (ARUA).

According to IBM, Quantum computing should be able to help to solve certain problems—such as chemical simulations and types of optimization – that will forever be beyond the practical reach of classical machines.

IBM established the IBM Q Network, a community of Fortune 500 companies, startups, academic institutions and research labs working with IBM to advance quantum computing and explore practical applications for business and science.

It is anticipated that researchers at Wits will investigate the use of quantum computing and machine learning in the fields of molecular biology with a specific focus on HIV drug discovery and cosmology. The teams will also jointly study quantum teleportation with IBM, a field pioneered by IBM Fellow Charles Bennett.

"For Africa to remain competitive for the coming decades we must get the next generation of students quantum ready," said Dr. Solomon Assefa, Vice President, Emerging Market Solutions and Director, IBM Research—Africa.

As part of the partnership between IBM and Wits, scholars from the other 15 ARUA universities including: Addis Ababa University; University of Ghana; University of Nairobi; University of Lagos; University of Ibadan; Obafemi Awolowo University lle-Ife; University of Rwanda; University Cheikh Anta Diop; University of Cape Town; University of Kwa-Zulu Natal; University of Pretoria; Rhodes University; University of Stellenbosch; University of Dar es Salaam and Makerere University, will have the opportunity to apply for access to IBM Q's most-advanced quantum computing systems and software for teaching quantum information science and exploring early applications.

IBM's recently unveiled IBM Q System One is the world's first integrated universal approximate quantum computing system designed for scientific and commercial use. IBM's most advanced universal quantum computing systems are available through the premium IBM Q Experience platform.

More than 10 million experiments have run on the public IBM Q Experience and users have published over 160 third-party research papers. Also, developers can work with  Qiskit, a full-stack, open-source quantum software development kit, to create and run quantum computing programs.

To further increase skills development, IBM Q is hosting an invite-only Qiskit Camp in South Africa this December for 200 quantum researchers and computer scientists where they will learn in an immersive environment and receive hands-on training.

For more information about the IBM Q Network, as well as a full list of all partners, members, and hubs, visit

For more information about IBM's quantum computing efforts, go to