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LG Electronics, IBM partner on quantum computer research

Looking to expand software available for its quantum computers, IBM has added LG Electronics to its Quantum Network to explore offerings for the AI and IoT markets.

LG Electronics has joined the IBM Quantum Network to research and develop applications involving AI, connected cars, IoT and digital transformation.

LG Electronics, like the other 170 members of the IBM Quantum Network, will have access to IBM's quantum computers in multiple locations around the world, as well as the company's internal technical experts and the Qiskit open source application development kit.

IBM officials said the relationship between the two companies opens the door to exploring new types of problems associated with emerging technologies that will serve to advance quantum computing initiatives and capabilities in Korea.

"Generally, Korea was not very much into quantum computing, but over the past few years they are starting to ramp up in both the university and private industry sectors," said Jay Gambetta, IBM Fellow and vice president of IBM's quantum division. "I can see them eventually becoming a powerhouse in quantum computing."

Jay Gambetta, IBM Fellow, vice president with IBM's quantum division Jay Gambetta

IBM has focused its global quantum computing efforts more on the Korean market of late. Big Blue brought Samsung Electronics into its Quantum Network as a development partner and has or is exploring relationships with a number of Korean academic institutions, including Yonsei University. LG itself has had a quantum application development team in place since 2018, led by former Intel and AMD executive Brad Kim.

The Korean government has sharpened its focus on quantum computing. In 2019, the South Korean Ministry of Science began investing $40 million in the technology, to be spread over a five-year period. The agency has pledged to develop a number of devices, including a 5-qubit device to be delivered in 2023, software systems and the talent necessary to pull it all together.

  LG will provide its workforce with the necessary training across a range of different quantum technologies to hasten the research and development of potential breakthroughs, the company said in a statement. While it is difficult to project when LG will deliver its first quantum-based offerings, Gambetta believes it will very likely involve software products that combine quantum and classical algorithms.

"What we are hoping to achieve is the synergy you get when doing calculations where you are applying quantum algorithms to classical [algorithms] and end up with something better," Gambetta said. "That hasn't been done yet, but I can see LG and many other members of the Q Network being part of that effort."

As Editor At Large with TechTarget's News Group, Ed Scannell is responsible for writing and reporting breaking news, news analysis and features focused on technology issues and trends affecting corporate IT professionals.

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