Maryland Business Pulse, 3/18/21

Home to many high-profile quantum researchers, dedicated centers, and innovative companies, a quantum computing revolution is happening right here in Maryland. At the center of quantum computing activity in Maryland is the University of Maryland’s Discovery District, a thriving research park. 

The Discovery District is home to IonQ, a Maryland Future 20 company, which recently announced that it would become the first publicly traded pure-play hardware and software company in the quantum computing space. The announcement came in correlation with a merger agreement with dMY Technology Group, Inc. III. 

“With more than 200 quantum researchers, the University of Maryland boasts one of the greatest concentrations of quantum talent in the world,” said University of Maryland President Darryll J. Pines. “Building on today’s announcement of our very own IonQ’s incredible breakthrough and rapid growth, we are establishing ourselves as the Capital of Quantum.” 

IonQ was founded in 2015 by UMD Professor Christopher Monroe and Jungsang Kim, and their systems are based on foundational research at the University of Maryland and Duke University. Monroe is a pioneer in “trapped ion” computing, which uses highly stable atoms as quantum bits, or “qubits” to store information.  
 
“We are proud of our roots at the University of Maryland — born from an idea in a research lab to the company we are today,” said IonQ President and CEO Peter Chapman. “There is no better place for IonQ to continue to grow and thrive than in College Park. Our connection with the University of Maryland gives us access to a pipeline of stellar workforce talent as we bring quantum computing to scale.”
 
Propelled by a research partnership in quantum science with the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the Laboratory for Physical Sciences (LPS) that began more than 10 years ago, UMD is now recognized across the globe as a leader in the quantum field. Today, UMD brings together hundreds of researchers, international collaborators, and government and industry in active partnerships—aided by its strategic location minutes from the nation’s capital.

In fall 2020, IonQ unveiled its next generation quantum computer system. At the same time, IonQ opened the Quantum Data Center in UMD’s Discovery District to help expedite the development of even more powerful quantum computers for commercial use. The 23,000-square-foot Center houses the company’s state-of-the-art quantum computers. The Quantum Data Center can accommodate 10 quantum computers, with space for more as IonQ’s systems simultaneously scale down in size and scale up in number of qubits with each new generation. The space also features 10 conference rooms, Class A office space and two clean rooms for scientific research to enable increased productivity. The combined space can support up to 175 employees, and IonQ has already expanded its team. The company expects to continue aggressively recruiting talent in the years to come.
 
“The promise of quantum is for smarter, faster computers, new sensors and forms of communication with enhanced security. Quantum computers will lead to safer, longer-lasting batteries for cars and trucks, more effective pharmaceuticals and the ability to perform computing tasks orders of magnitude faster than before. We’re a hub for developing new forms of quantum technology and proud to support IonQ,” Robert Briber, Interim Dean of the A. James Clark School of Engineering, said. 
 
IonQ’s growth contributes to the $2 billion revitalization of the area surrounding UMD, known as Greater College Park, and is a testament to the State of Maryland’s and Prince George’s County’s commitments to supporting the growth and development of innovative, locally-grown companies. 

Want to help solidify Maryland’s position as hub for quantum computing globally? Submit a response to IBM’s challenge posed in the Maryland Business Innovation Challenge