New Lab, Center Advance Quantum Computing

UMD Makes $20M Investment in Q-Lab, Leads $25M NSF Grant on Quantum Simulation
By Chris Carroll | Photo by Kaveh Haerian

A first-of-its kind lab and a multi-institutional center for discovery based in College Park both launched last semester, further building the University of Maryland’s reputation as a hotspot for quantum science and a beacon for the burgeoning quantum computing industry.

The National Quantum Lab, or Q-Lab, was announced in September in conjunction with quantum computing company IonQ, a UMD spinoff company, and will be the nation’s first facility providing scientists with hands-on access to its latest commercial-grade devices.

A nearly $20 million investment from the university will fund the Q-Lab site adjacent to the company’s headquarters in the university’s Discovery District. The agreement provides access to IonQ’s trapped-ion quantum computer hardware for UMD students, faculty, researchers, staff and partners across the country, as well as a chance to work directly with the company’s scientific and engineering staff.

Also in September, the National Science Foundation (NSF) announced the University of Maryland would lead a $25 million effort to develop quantum simulation devices. The NSF Quantum Leap Challenge Institute (QLCI) for Robust Quantum Simulation brings together computer scientists, engineers and physicists from five academic institutions and the federal government.

They’re developing technology to allow researchers to explore and understand quantum systems—for example, those that impact the properties of molecules—in realms including chemistry, drug development and material science. Quantum simulators are also expected to lead to the next step in quantum computing: programmable, practical computers for general use.

The QLCI is the seventh academic center based on quantum science at UMD, which continues to strengthen the region’s claim to the title “the Capital of Quantum,” says university President Darryll J. Pines.

“Maintaining and growing our global leadership in quantum science and technology is important for the state of Maryland and a top strategic priority for its flagship campus, the University of Maryland,” he says.

In other quantum developments, the NSF also selected UMD to lead a $5 million, two-year effort aimed at creating quantum interconnects—crucial technology to allow quantum computers to share information with each other that will be part of the basis for a quantum computer-based internet.

President Darryll J. Pines and other UMD officials were on Wall Street in October as executives from IonQ—which is based in part on technology licensed from UMD—rang the bell at the New York Stock Exchange to become the world’s first publicly traded quantum computing-specific company. Read more at


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