A Revolution Goes Public

UMD Quantum Computing Spinoff Takes Big Business Step
By Chris Carroll | Photo courtesy of Joint Quantum Institute

A University of Maryland-linked startup vying to take quantum computers mainstream recently announced it would become the first publicly traded company dedicated to this game-changing technology.

IonQ, headquartered in the university’s Discovery District, was founded in 2015 by College Park Professor of Physics Christopher Monroe and Jungsang Kim of Duke University, with systems based on foundational research at the two universities.

Still in its infancy, quantum computing leverages counterintuitive features of quantum physics to execute certain tasks, like sorting every possible combination in a cryptographic key, exponentially faster than standard computers can. This promises dramatic advances in cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, drug discovery and other fields.

Last fall, IonQ unveiled its next-generation quantum computer system and opened the Quantum Data Center in College Park—a location that raises UMD’s considerable profile in quantum science and engineering, says President Darryll J. Pines.

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

IonQ is proud of its UMD roots—and plans to benefit further from them—says IonQ President and CEO Peter Chapman.

“Our connection with the University of Maryland gives us access to a pipeline of stellar workforce talent as we bring quantum computing to scale,” he says.


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