IBM and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) have launched a quantum computer at the latter's campus in New York.

Located in the university’s Voorhees Computing Center (VCC) in New York, a chapel that the university repurposed in the 1960s, the quantum computer is be positioned next to a stained glass window and serves as a focal point of RPI’s new Curtis Priem Quantum Constellation, a research center funded by Nvidia co-founder and a graduate of RPI, Curtis Priem. The companies say this is the first IBM Quantum System One to be installed on a university campus.

The IBM Quantum System One at RPI – IBM

The new IBM Quantum System One is reportedly a utility-scale quantum computer – the threshold at which quantum computers can serve as tools for scientific discovery – and powered by a 127-qubit IBM Quantum ‘Eagle’ processor.

The system is kept at an operating temperature of 0.015 Kelvin to enable the qubits to maintain their quantum state. The quantum processor chip, which holds the qubits and performs the calculations, is positioned towards the bottom of the chandelier

The acquisition of the system by RPI was first announced in October 2023, with the machine set to aid research in healthcare, sustainability, artificial intelligence, and national security sectors, while also helping to build the next generation of the quantum workforce.

IBM has committed to upgrading the system in 2026.

In a statement, IBM said the new System One expands the company’s global fleet of quantum computers operating at this level, which includes systems in the United States, Canada, Germany, and Japan, in addition to installations currently in progress in South Korea and Spain.

“For the first time in history, an entirely new branch of computing is being developed with quantum technology. This is not something we can do alone,” said Dario Gil, IBM senior vice president and director of research, and RPI board member.

“It is fundamental that IBM works with our global ecosystem of partners, including world-renowned universities and research institutions such as RPI, to discover and map new algorithms to the most difficult challenges that quantum computers can solve. We will do this by fostering a quantum workforce of the future and ensuring that the next generation is equipped with the skills to use these systems to their fullest potential.”

Founded in 1824, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is a technological research university encompassing five schools and over 30 research centers over two campuses in New York’s Rensselaer County and Hartford, Connecticut.

In addition to the new IBM System One, RPI is also home to the Artificial Intelligence Multiprocessing Optimized System (AiMOS), an 11 petaflops IBM Power9/Nvidia supercomputer and the current most powerful classical supercomputer at a private university in the United States.