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Quantum Leap for Africa-based Research

14th June 2019

Dear VCs and DVCs,

It is with great pleasure that I share with you information about the on-going partnership between IBM and University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) which has resulted in the expansion of the tech giant’s quantum computing efforts in Africa.

Wits University has become the first African partner on the IBM Q Network, and will be the gateway for researchers and academics from ARUA to gain access to IBM Q’s most-advanced quantum computing systems and software for teaching quantum information science and exploring early applications.

As we at ARUA endeavour to develop local research excellence through collaborations, training young scholars and researchers in future technologies, such as quantum computing, while leveraging the next level of discovery research, will significantly expand the quality of research done by Africa-based researchers.

Through a Scientific Committee that will consist of researchers from Wits and IBM, ARUA scholars will now be able to access the IBM Q Network™, a community of Fortune 500 companies, start-ups, academic institutions and research labs that has, since 2016, worked with IBM to advance quantum computing and explore practical applications for business and science.

Researchers at Wits will investigate the use of quantum computing and machine learning in the fields of cosmology and molecular biology with a specific focus on HIV drug discovery. The teams will also jointly study quantum teleportation, a field pioneered by IBM Fellow Charles Bennett.

I would like to congratulate Professor Zeblon Vilakazi, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research and Postgraduate Affairs at Wits University, and Dr Solomon Assefa, Vice President, Emerging Market Solutions and Director, IBM Research – Africa, for their leadership and the key roles they played in expanding access to IBM’s advance quantum computing to Africa-based researchers.

Researchers in the ARUA network who are theoretically and experimentally active in quantum technologies can get more information on the IBM Q Network, as well as a full list of all partners, members, and hubs, by visiting Also contact Chris Sciacca from IBM Research Communications on or +41 44 724 8443 for more information and if you are willing to engage with your local media to educate and promote quantum computing on the continent.

ARUA Secretary-General