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The Basque Country and IBM forge a partnership in the field of quantum computing

2023 March 17
  • IBM President, Arvind Krishna, and the Minister of Education, Jokin Bildarratz, have met in New York following the agreement signed yesterday, Thursday, in Madrid between the Ikerbasque Foundation and IBM
  • Historic investment: the agreement represents the largest investment ever made in the Basque Country for a scientific infrastructure, with more than 50 million euros
  • The Basque Country will host IBM’s sixth global Quantum Computing Centre
  • The project will be presented on 24 March in Donostia

IBM's Thomas J. Watson Research Centre hosted a meeting this afternoon (New York time) between IBM's Chairman and CEO, Arvind Krishna, and the Minister of Education and President of Ikerbasque, Jokin Bildarratz. The meeting follows the agreement reached between IBM and the Basque Government, through the Ikerbasque Foundation and signed yesterday, Thursday, in Madrid, for the Basque Country to host a new IBM Quantum Computing Centre and an “IBM Quantum System One”. The Basque Country will thus host the sixth “IBM Quantum System One” dedicated to a specific entity and its users, after the United States, Germany, Japan, Canada and South Korea.

The meeting was also attended by Darío Gil, SVP and Director of IBM Research, the President of IBM Spain, Portugal, Greece and Israel, Horacio Morell, as well as the Deputy Minister of Universities and Research of the Basque Government, Adolfo Morais, the Director of Research of the Basque Government, Amaia Esquisabel, and the delegate of the Basque Government in the United States, Unai Telleria. On behalf of the Provincial Councils, the deputy for Economic Promotion of the Provincial Council of Gipuzkoa, Jabier Larrañaga, the director of the Technology and Innovation Society of the Provincial Council of Bizkaia, Nerea Martiartu, and the director of the Development Agency of the Provincial Council of Araba, Julio Guinea, were present.

The Ikerbasque Foundation, through funding from the Basque Government, will make an investment of 50.8 million euros, an amount that the Provincial Councils will complement with different contributions for the development of the project in their territories. This amount represents the largest investment made to date in a scientific infrastructure by Basque institutions.

International recognition

IBM's commitment to the Basque Country represents a new recognition of the Basque Science, Technology and Innovation System. The Basque Country has a solid scientific base in quantum technologies, supercomputing and artificial intelligence, supported by its network of research centres of excellence, both basic and applied. Considered a High Innovation Region by the European Union and a Pole of Excellence, the high qualification of its scientists –reinforced by the work of the Ikerbasque Foundation in its objective of attracting, retaining and repatriating scientific talent– has consolidated the Basque Country as a solid partner of high innovative value.

This initiative further enhances the Basque Country brand, and confirms that the Department of Education's commitment to promoting the IKUR Strategy –with quantum technology as one of its main development objectives– will place the Basque Country at the forefront of a technology that represents a paradigm shift compared to traditional computing.

Project development

After the meeting, Minister Bildarratz visited the facilities of IBM's Thomas J. Watson research centre, accompanied by Darío Gil, SVP and director of IBM Research, and his team. At the visit, the Basque delegation was able to analyse the different areas of research that are currently being developed, as well as the actions and projects that will be carried out in Donostia with the start-up of “System One”.

The Ikerbasque Foundation, the Basque Government and the Provincial Councils will present the project on 24 March in Donostia.

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Politicians attending the event