The University of Tokyo has partnered with the University of Chicago, IBM Corp. and Google LLC to enhance research and development in next-generation quantum computing to tackle global-scale challenges including climate change.

IBM will provide $50 million to each university over 10 years to fund development of a system capable of solving problems beyond the reach of the most advanced supercomputers of today, the U.S. company said.

The universities will also receive up to $50 million in total over 10 years from Google to support their research and the development of human resources.

Photo taken in July 2021 shows a quantum computer installed by the University of Tokyo and IBM Corp. in Kawasaki, Kanagawa Prefecture. (Kyodo)

Quantum computing utilizes the quantum mechanical properties of particles and subatomic particles such as photons, atoms and electrons.

While a conventional computer uses long strings of bits, which encode either zeros or ones, a quantum computer uses quantum bits, or qubits, representing both zeros and ones simultaneously, allowing it to solve complex calculations at ultra-high speed.

The University of Tokyo will work to identify, scale, and run end-to-end demonstrations of quantum algorithms, while the University of Chicago will aim to bring quantum communication to computation, IBM said in May.

With the collaboration with the two universities, the company has set a goal of developing a 100,000-qubit system by 2033, it said.

The move comes after the University of Tokyo signed an agreement with IBM in 2019 to promote an industry-academia partnership. In 2021, it started conducting research with IBM's 27-qubit quantum computer jointly with a number of firms and other universities.

Masashi Kawasaki, professor of applied physics at the University of Tokyo, talks about a quantum computer at the university in the Japanese capital on May 8, 2023. (Kyodo)

It also plans to operate as early as this fall an IBM machine with 127 qubits at an industry-university research and development facility in Kawasaki near Tokyo.

Masashi Kawasaki, professor of applied physics at the University of Tokyo's School of Engineering Quantum-Phase Electronics Center, said that the university is aiming to foster individuals who can handle quantum computers in their work and daily lives by providing opportunities for early and frequent exposure to quantum computers.

The director of the IBM-University of Tokyo Laboratory also stressed that the importance of fostering "top-notch" talent able to discover principles in quantum computing and develop quantum machines.