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Public-Private Collaboration To Boost Research In Quantum Computing In India

The Indian Institute of Technology in Madras (IIT-Madras) is collaborating with a tech giant on quantum computing education and research. The institute’s faculty, researchers, and students will get access to IBM’s quantum systems and tools over IBM cloud to accelerate joint research in quantum computing, and develop curricula.

The Quantum Computing Lab at IIT-Madras will host courses for undergraduate and postgraduate students. The Quantum Computing Lab courses, which will be taught by IIT-Madras faculty and the company’s researchers, include hands-on lab sessions on their quantum systems. The partnership will augment existing courses on quantum information and computing. The company will provide the learning resources, tools, and systems access needed by faculty and students.

Anil Prabhakar, Department of Electrical Engineering at IIT-Madras, noted, “Quantum computing offers us the opportunity to solve computationally intractable problems. We have played a leadership role in the indigenous development of quantum key distribution (QKD). Such QKD protocols form the building blocks for quantum networks that will secure our communications, and also enable new paradigms such as photonic quantum computing and distributed and blind quantum computing.”

The director of the company’s research arm in India said that Quantum computing is fast emerging as one of the disruptive technologies of current times. This collaboration with IIT-Madras is part of the company’s Quantum Educators programme that will help teachers in the quantum field connect with one another and provide learning resources, tools, and systems access they need to provide quality educational experiences.

According to a news report, IIT-Madras introduced the Interdisciplinary Dual Degree (IDDD) programme on Quantum Science and Technologies (QuEST) last July. The Quantum Computing Lab at IIT-Madras will host courses for undergraduate and postgraduate students and better prepare them for a career in quantum science and technology. Courses such as Quantum Integer Programming, conducted alongside a similar course at the Tepper Business School, Carnegie Mellon, emphasise the advantages of hybrid quantum computing to areas as diverse as bin packing, image classification, channel decoding, and quantum state tomography.

IIT-Madras recently collaborated with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to grow human brain tissues called ‘organoids’ using a 3D Printed Bioreactor that they developed. As OpenGov Asia reported, the objective was to observe the brain tissues while they grow and develop, a technology that can potentially accelerate medical and therapeutic discoveries. The invention will help revolutionise treatment developments for diseases such as spinal cord injury, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, cerebral palsy, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and targeted cancer treatment. the organoid-based diagnosis is also useful for screening pharmaceutical compounds.

The current cell culture protocols involve separate chambers for incubation and imaging, requiring that cells be physically transferred to the imaging chamber, which poses the risk of false results and chances for contamination. However, the team has come up with a novel solution, which lets the cells grow uninterruptedly. A 3D-printed micro-incubator and imaging chamber was made into a single palm-sized platform, which was successfully demonstrated for long-term human brain cell culture and real-time imaging. The technology has been patented in India. The research team is exploring the feasibility of international collaborations. The project was executed with support from the Centre for Computational Brain Research (CCBR) at IIT-Madras for funding and Sur’s Lab at MIT.

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