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Ikerbasque-IBM Alliance Strategic Committee

October 06, 2023

The Minister of Education, Jokin Bildarratz, chaired on October 5th the Ikerbasque-IBM Alliance Strategic Committee. The Committee, which objective is to ensure proper compliance with the agreement signed between Ikerbasque and IBM, established the main strategic lines of work to be developed in the following months.

Ikerbasque-IBM Alliance Strategic Committee

Attendees at the meeting in San Sebastian included Deputy Minister of Universities and Research Adolfo Morais, Commissioner for Science, Technology, and Innovation Cristina Uriarte, and Director of Research of the Basque Government Amaia Esquisabel. Additionally, representatives from the three provincial councils were also invited: Ane Insausti, Deputy Director for Economic Promotion and Strategic Projects of the Provincial Council of Gipuzkoa, Ainara Basurko, Deputy Director for Economic Promotion of the Provincial Council of Bizkaia, and Ander Larrinaga, Director of Economic Development and Innovation of the Provincial Council of Araba.

IBM's representation, led by executives like Vice President for IBM-Quantum Jay Gambetta, Global Director of IBM Quantum Mikel Díez, and Global Director of the Quantum Innovation Centers program Josselin Milloz, was also substantial. The Basque Quantum driving team, headed by Javier Aizpurua from the Material Physics Center, also participated.

The collective goal of the Basque Quantum (BasQ) institutions is to establish Euskadi as a leading hub in Quantum Technologies in Southern Europe. This involves stable collaboration between the Basque Government, Provincial Councils, and IBM, focusing on infrastructure, research, training, enablement, and innovation.

The Strategic Committee reviewed the progress of the Ikerbasque-IBM alliance within the BasQ project, acknowledging that all planned actions for the initial six months are currently in motion:

  • In research, collaborative projects between the Basque Network of Science, Technology, and Innovation and IBM Research have been initiated, covering areas like error mitigation and quantum kernel methods.
  • In terms of training, a shared framework has been pre-defined for educational and training programs and activities moving forward, aiming different institutions and agents. Until now, more than 80 Basque researchers have already been trained in quantum computing.
  • Infrastructure-wise, over 70 users have been granted remote access to IBM's quantum computing systems, with collaboration agreements signed with 15 institutions from the Basque Network of Science, Technology, and Innovation. IBM is constructing the IBM Quantum System One, set to be installed at the Euskadi Quantum Computation Center in San Sebastian, and progress on the new Ikerbasque building is underway.
  • Regarding the industry workstream, raising awareness and facilitating enablement on a large scale are identified key factors. This will require collaboration between the Basque Government, the Provincial Councils, and businesses agents. To this end, conversations have begun with various leading companies to accelerate the process of innovation based on quantum computing.

Basque Quantum

Basque Quantum, promoted by the Basque Government, will develop a research center in quantum technologies in Euskadi. Within this project, San Sebastian will host the IBM Quantum System One computer, the sixth quantum supercomputer in the world linked to an international network driven by IBM, allowing Euskadi to lead worldwide research in one of the most strategic scientific fields today.

The alliance between Ikerbasque and IBM aims to boost technologies that present a potential that is difficult to define even today. Located in the future Ikerbasque building, the future Quantum Computational Center will be the epicenter of the research activities of the project.

In total, Basque Quantum foresees a direct investment of over 120 million euros by 2028, from the participating Basque administrations. This amount represents the largest investment made to date in a scientific infrastructure by the Basque institutions.