On-Campus Event

Grand opening of the IBM Quantum System One at Rensselaer

This year, Rensselaer became the first university to hold an IBM Quantum System One. On April 5th, the ribbon cutting ceremony was held for the new system, which is located in the Voorhees Computing Center. Members of the RPI community came together to celebrate the historic opening of this new system. Hundreds gathered in the Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center to watch a live stream of the ribbon cutting in the VCC. IBM CEO and Vice President of Quantum Computing Arvind Krishna and Jay Gambetta joined President Martin A. Schmidt ’81 to introduce the new system in the VCC. Student leaders and Co-Presidents of RPI’s Quantum Computing club Nicholas Grablevsky ’25 and Queenie Sun ’25 came to represent the student voice—those who are excited to be the first college students with access to quantum computing. New York Congressman Paul Tonko and President of University at Albany Havidán Rodríguez represented the greater New York communities, who are excited for the future of quantum computing in the vicinity. Additionally, Chair and Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees John Kelly ’80G and Curtis Priem ’82 came to show the support of the greater RPI community and the work that has been put in to make this possible.

After the official ceremony, attendees were able to go on tours led by the members of the Quantum Computing Club. The 127-qubit chip is named “Eagle,” and is encased within a cryostat. The cryostat keeps the chip cold (0.015 degrees Kelvin), and everything is kept in a 5-ton glass box. RPI faculty and researchers now have access to the quantum computing system, and students may obtain access with faculty sponsorship. Students will also be able to use IBM’s quantum cloud computers.

The night before the unveiling ceremony, CBS News Correspondent David Pogue arrived at EMPAC to deliver a piece on the quick and frightening progress of AI. Pogue discussed the growing capabilities of generative AIs, such as Dall-E, Sora, and, of course, ChatGPT. He emphasized that quantum computing would take AI to an unprecedented level and that no one could foresee all that AI would do. However, Pogue chose to address and assuage many fears and apprehensions surrounding AI, such as job loss and misinformation. The fear of job loss was something Pogue addressed as reasonable, and he chose to compare it to the 95%(40% - 2%) drop in jobs in agriculture in the last 100 years. While many jobs in a particular industry began to disappear, many new jobs that were inconceivable to people in the early 20th century popped up in its place. As for misinformation, Pogue highlighted that AI was still in its springtime and that improvement and betterment to avoid misinformation would surely come with more development. Pogue rounded out his speech with a piano and vocal performance of his hit iPhone parody of the song “My Way” by Frank Sinatra.

With three days of activities, members of RPI and surrounding communities celebrated this historic event, beginning a new era of research and scientific innovation on the university’s campus.