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Delta Air Lines Joins NC State’s IBM Q Hub

rainbow over Delta airplane

Delta Air Lines will be the founding industry
partner to join the IBM Q Hub at NC
, as part of a multi-year collaborative effort with
IBM and the world’s largest global airline to explore the potential
capabilities of quantum computing to transform experiences for customers and

Last year NC State became the first university in North America
to establish an IBM Q Hub as part of the global IBM Q Network, a collaboration
between tech powerhouse IBM and top Fortune 500 companies, national research
labs and leading universities to advance quantum computing and explore
practical applications. Hubs have a unique role within the network, focused on
accelerating industry collaborations, learning, skills development and
implementation of quantum computing.

“NC State is proud to partner with Delta to
accelerate real-world applications as part of our IBM Q Hub,” said executive
director Daniel Stancil. “Our quantum-trained students and researchers are
excited to work with IBM and Delta to identify opportunities for development
and implementation.”

Through NC State’s IBM Q Hub, Delta will have
access to the world’s largest fleet of quantum computing systems for commercial
use cases and fundamental research, including the recently-announced 53-qubit
quantum computer, which is the single largest universal quantum system made
available for external access in the industry to date.

“Partnering with innovative companies like IBM
is one way Delta stays on the leading edge of tech so we can best determine how
it can be used to better serve our customs and our people, while drawing the
blueprints for application across our industry,” said Rahul Samant, Delta’s
CIO. “We’ve done this most recently with biometrics in our international
terminals and we’re excited to explore how quantum computing can be applied to
address challenges across the day of travel.”

Delta’s CEO Ed Bastian delivered the CES 2020
opening keynote address that focused on how Delta is transforming travel into a
part of the journey to look forward. The airline is using technology to extend
the warmth of its people to non-traditional airline touchpoints and delivering
innovative experience that reduce stress across the day of travel.

As part of the agreement, Delta will work with
NC State and IBM researchers to create innovations that will inform the
airline’s future technology strategy, while solving existing business and
operational challenges. The partnership will also allow IBM to better
understand real-world business challenges to help speed the commercialization
of research.

“We are very excited by the addition of the
world’s largest airline to our list of collaborators working with us on
building practical quantum computing applications,” said Director of IBM
Research Dario Gil. “IBM’s focus, since we put the very first quantum computer
on the cloud in 2016, has been to move quantum computing beyond isolated lab
experiments conducted by a handful of organizations, into the hands of tens of
thousands of users. We believe a clear advantage will be awarded to early
adopters in the era of quantum computing and with partners like Delta, we’re
already making significant progress on that mission.”

“Delta joins more than 100 clients already
experimenting with commercial quantum computing solutions alongside classical
computers from IBM to tackle problems like risk analytics and options pricing,
advanced battery materials and structures, manufacturing optimization, fraud
detection, chemical research, logistics and more,” said Jamie Thomas, General
Manager, Strategy and Development for IBM Systems. “As the first airline to
join the IBM Q network, I’m looking forward to exploring how we can work
together to solve real business challenges in a new industry alongside our Hub
members at NC State.”

This post was originally published in NC State News.