Futuristic computer research to be made available by IBM at two Atlanta HBCUs

By David Pendered

A cure for COVID-19 is the potential outcome of a new kind of research IBM is offering as part of a diversity initiative that includes two historically black colleges and universities in Atlanta.

IBM is expanding its quantum computing programs with webinars including one hosted by Abraham Asfaw, a developer advocate. IBM has extended its quantum computing initiatives to two HBCUs in Atlanta, Morehouse College and Clark Atlanta University. Credit: developer.ibm.com

Clark Atlanta University and Morehouse College are among 13 HBCUs nationally chosen by IBM to participate in its new IBM-HBCU Quantum Center. The goal is to foster a more diverse workforce in a field that has been expected to be “big data” in the future since the 1990s.

A columnist for forbes.com used the example of COVID-19 research as a way to make quantum computing more accessible to the general public. Here’s how Vaclav Vincalek described it:

  • “Quantum computers help innovators find solutions where the number of options is so great that it is not possible to calculate with today’s technology.
  • “This is why biotechnology is particularly interested in quantum computing technology. For example, Menten AI, in addition to researching a cure for Covid-19, seeks to discover new drugs that fall between small molecules and large biologics. “

The biologics mentioned by Vincalek are the most advanced therapies available and their development, in general, is beyond the reach of conventional computers.

Clark Atlanta President George French, Jr. said in an email that CAU students would benefit from the additional resources that the IBM program will provide.

CAU is the only HBCU in Georgia to be classified as a “high research activity” location by the Carnegie Classification of Higher Education Institutions. The other three R-2 rated schools in Georgia are Kennesaw State, Mercer, and Georgia Southern.

The French observed:

George French, Jr.

George French, Jr.

  • “For Clark University in Atlanta, the initiative is a recruiting resource to help us continue to attract the best and brightest academics from across the country and around the world. This particularly strengthens the research enterprise for CAU as one of the few R-2 classified Carnegie HBCUs in the country.
  • “In addition, this initiative will strengthen the pipeline of private / public partnerships in the best interest of both business sector research and the needs of the public. “

Partnerships are evident in the programs sponsored by the CAU Cyber-Physical Systems Department. The department has more than 300 students, graduates and undergraduates, who focus on research activities, according to the department’s virtual catalog:

Clark University of Atlanta

Clark University in Atlanta is the only HBCU in Georgia to be designated as a place of “high research activity” by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. Credit: Kelly Jordan

  • “In recent years, the CPS department has made a concerted effort to establish a competitive research and training base and a PhD. pipeline by improving its university computer science program, research faculty and infrastructure. Major research initiatives include the establishment of the Army Center of Excellence in Information Science, an Information Security Research and Education Center (ISREC) sponsored by the DOD and d ‘an interactive web-based training lab sponsored by Intel.
  • “Under the auspices of these programs, several research projects are being carried out in the fields of computer security, data mining, high performance computing and image processing.”

IBM announced on September 17, at its Quantum Summit, that it was establishing the program as part of its $ 100 million initiative to increase education and career opportunities for the country’s diverse population. According to a statement from Carla Grant Pickens, IBM’s Global Head of Diversity and Inclusion:

  • “We believe that to expand opportunities for diverse populations, we need a diverse talent pool from the next generation of HBCU technology leaders. Diversity and inclusion are what fuels innovation, and HBCU students will play an important role in what drives innovations of the future like quantum computing, cloud, and artificial intelligence.
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