Northwestern Joins UChicago-Run Chicago Quantum Exchange

The Exchange is a collaboration of more than 100 academic and government researchers to advance quantum information science.


University of Chicago

The William Eckhardt Research Center, which houses the Institute for Molecular Engineering.

By William Yuen Yee, Contributor

Northwestern University has joined the Chicago Quantum Exchange (CQE), according to an announcement on Monday from UChicago News.

This comes two weeks after Northwestern announced the Initiative at Northwestern for Quantum Information Research and Engineering (INQUIRE), which will integrate faculty across Northwestern’s multiple academic disciplines to further its research in quantum science, a field with broad implications for future national security. Last December, Congress passed the National Quantum Initiative Act, a decade-long program allocating over $1 billion for quantum information science research.

The CQE, based at the University’s Institute for Molecular Engineering, is a collaboration among more than 100 academic and government researchers to advance various fields of quantum information science. Member institutions include the U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory and Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and the University of Wisconsin–Madison. The CQE aims to apply innovative research to develop new devices, materials, and technologies, according to its website.

The hub was launched by the University in 2017, and it includes scientists from Argonne and Fermi, as well as scholars from UChicago’s departments of physics, chemistry, computer science, and astronomy and astrophysics.

Last week the CQE announced a partnership with IBM Q Network, a global community of Fortune 500 companies, academic institutions, and research labs working to advance quantum computing. CQE scientists will work with IBM Q engineers to investigate a wide array of fields, including algorithms and both software and hardware development. The partnership will also finance five postdoctoral research positions, giving opportunities to work closely alongside CQE scientists in quantum computing innovation.

Northwestern joining the CQE represents the latest in a long line of partnerships between Northwestern and UChicago. In the 1990s, the two universities created one of the first National Science Foundation Centers for Science and Technology to focus on superconductivity. Currently, 12 such centers operate nationwide.

More recently, the two universities have been collaborating at the Center for Hierarchical Materials Design. Led by Northwestern’s Peter Voorhees and Gregory Olson and UChicago’s Juan de Pablo, the research facility operates at the forefront of molecular engineering and data science.