Delta Air Lines, the world’s largest global airline and Anthem, Inc., a leading health benefits company are the first two industry partners to join the IBM Q Hub at NC State, as part of a multi-year collaborative effort with IBM to explore the potential capabilities of quantum computing to transform experiences for customers and employees.
In 2018, NC State became the first university in North America to establish an IBM Q Hub as part of the global IBM Q Network, a collaboration between IBM and Fortune 500 companies, national research labs, startups and leading universities to advance quantum computing and explore practical applications for science and business. Hubs have a unique role within the network, focused on accelerating industry collaborations, learning, skills development and implementation of quantum computing.
Through NC State’s IBM Q Hub, Delta and Anthem will have access to the world’s largest fleet of quantum computing systems for commercial use cases and fundamental research, including the recently-announced 65-qubit quantum computer, which is the single largest universal quantum system made available for external access in the industry to date.
More than one in eight Americans receive coverage for their medical care through Anthem’s affiliated plans, and the company brings its decades-long expertise in working with health care data to the Q Network.
Delta’s CEO Ed Bastian delivered the CES 2020 opening keynote address that focused on how Delta is transforming travel into a part of the journey to look forward. The airline is using technology to extend the warmth of its people to non-traditional airline touchpoints and delivering innovative experience that reduce stress across the day of travel.
As part of the agreement, Delta will work with NC State and IBM researchers to create innovations that will inform the airline’s future technology strategy, while solving existing business and operational challenges. The partnership will also allow IBM to better understand real-world business challenges to help speed the commercialization of research.
Quantum computing has the potential to analyze data significantly faster than classical computing and perform certain types of analysis that are not possible with today’s classical computers – while also enhancing privacy and security.
“Partnering with innovative companies like IBM is one way Delta stays on the leading edge of tech so we can best determine how it can be used to better serve our customs and our people, while drawing the blueprints for application across our industry,” said Rahul Samant, Delta’s CIO. “We’ve done this most recently with biometrics in our international terminals and we’re excited to explore how quantum computing can be applied to address challenges across the day of travel.”
“Delta joins more than 100 clients already experimenting with commercial quantum computing solutions alongside classical computers from IBM to tackle problems like risk analytics and options pricing, advanced battery materials and structures, manufacturing optimization, fraud detection, chemical research, logistics and more,” said Jamie Thomas, General Manager, Strategy and Development for IBM Systems. “As the first airline to join the IBM Q network, I’m looking forward to exploring how we can work together to solve real business challenges in a new industry alongside our Hub members at NC State.”