IIT Madras and Mphasis have signed a memorandum of understanding to collaborate on accelerating applied research in quantum computing.
The Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT Madras) and Mphasis, a leading IT solutions provider specializing in cloud and cognitive services, have sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to create a hub for quantum science and technology that produces top-quality graduates, promote fundamental and applied research in quantum technologies, democratize access to education in quantum technologies, assist start-ups aligned to relevant domains, and develop and attract talent to the quantum ecosystem by offering a limited number of high-value top-up scholarships to students who excel in research.
The collaboration also aims to support higher education and students whose research in quantum science and specific quantum architectures will be recognized and have a significant societal impact.
This initiative is funded by Mphasis F1 Foundation, the CSR arm of Mphasis, with a grant of Rs 21 crores over five years. Countries all over the world are increasingly seen investing in research and development (R&D) in the field of quantum. The partnership will fortify India’s leadership in quantum information, develop comprehensive training, and create quality resources for education and training in quantum computing.
Together, IIT Madras and Mphasis would enable the development and attraction of talent to the quantum ecosystem by offering a limited number of high-value top-up scholarships to students who excel in research, full-time foreign students, and post-doctoral researchers, who will be offered globally competitive remuneration along with accessible and curated course materials.
Additionally, the collaboration will democratize quantum learning through training programs tailored to specific industries, online certification programs through the National Program on Technology Enhanced Learning (NPTEL), and continuing education through IITM’s web-enabled MTech program on Quantum Science and Technology (QuST).
“This partnership will create a consortium of Government, Academia, and Industry that will focus on research, bringing together multidisciplinary teams to solve challenges currently limiting the industrial applications of quantum science and technologies. This hub or quantum center will also collaborate with global universities and disseminate its research findings through workshops, peer-reviewed papers, and conferences,” said Prof. Mahesh Panchagnula, Dean (Alumni and Corporate Relations), IIT Madras.
“Quantum technology is at the brim; revolutionizing Quantum computing, sensing, and communication is leading to the emergence of new businesses and business models. Our collaboration with IIT Madras and the Government of India will enable us to harness the vast potential of quantum computing, enabling top capabilities and skills development for the future,” said Srikanth Karra, Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO), Mphasis.
“The collaboration tangibly demonstrates our ambition to bring the most innovative, breakthrough solutions and invest in capabilities early on to stay ahead of the curve. Building a cohesive industry for quantum computing necessitates a concentrated effort to develop the ecosystem across sectors and that is what we aim to achieve with our partnership,” he added.
Elaborating on the projects to be taken up by this program, Prof. Anil Prabhakar, Department of Electrical Engineering, IIT Madras, said, “Over a period of five years, the research will primarily focus on the expanses of Quantum Optimization, Quantum Finance, Quantum Chemistry, Quantum Communication, Quantum Error Correction and Quantum Tomography. The lab built through this partnership will harness the potential of quantum technologies and uncover the areas expected to achieve early gains with quantum computers and migrate real-world use cases onto quantum computers. It will also evaluate the societal needs and consequences of having access to quantum computers and employ quantum computers for basic research.”
With this core objective, an ‘Industry-Academia Conclave’ was also organized—as one of many events under this partnership, bringing together various stakeholders in quantum technology, witnessing participation from Pfizer, Goldman Sachs, KLA, Mphasis, Larsen & Turbo Infotech (LTI), IBM amongst others.
At this industry-academia conclave, leading companies focused on the emerging field of quantum computing and academic researchers working in quantum, exchanged information and ideas, helping each other understand market demand and research developments, respectively. Academic research in this domain is now becoming increasingly relevant and valuable to the ecosystem thus paving way for greater involvement by technology companies in applied research.
“Mphasis is at the forefront in using quantum computers for machine learning, optimization, and simulation problems. We envision quantum computing as a significant driver in solving future business problems. The research focus would be on the domains of information, communication, and computing. It will bring together faculty from different engineering and science disciplines and focus on enhancing industrial applications of quantum science and technologies,” said Ramanathan Srikumar, Chief Solutions Officer, Mphasis.
“The law allows CSR funds to be deployed in scientific research. While some CSR initiatives may provide immediate gratification, they may not provide sustainable results in the long term. Investing in socially relevant scientific research will lead to outcomes that can have a structural impact and will benefit a larger number of people in the long run. Mphasis certainly recognizes this, and we are grateful to them for taking this very progressive step as part of their CSR agenda,” said Kaviraj M.G., Chief Executive Officer, Office of Institutional Advancement, IIT Madras.