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UMD Spinoff IonQ Opens New Data Center in Greater College Park

Facility Will Aid Company’s Race to Build First Practical Quantum Computer

By Maryland Today Staff

Interior of IonQ facility

Photo by Erin Scott Photography for IonQ

IonQ’s new Quantum Data Center, supported by a $5.5 million investment from UMD, features space for the company’s powerful quantum computers as well as conference rooms named for noted female scientists including Maria Goeppert Mayer (left), Marie Curie and Chien-Shiung Wu.

Quantum computing startup IonQ, founded in 2015 based in part on technology licensed from the University of Maryland, has opened a quantum data center in the University of Maryland’s Discovery District, the company announced today.

In addition to IonQ's current space on Campus Drive, the new 23,000-square-foot center will house the firm's state-of-the-art quantum computers and will significantly expedite the development of even more powerful quantum computers for commercial use.

"Our Quantum Data Center solidifies IonQ's position in leading the race to build quantum computers able to tackle problems not yet solvable," said Mahsa Dornajafi, vice president of finance and operations at IonQ. "This dedicated space will empower our employees and researchers with the best equipment and resources needed to continue advancing the field of quantum computing."

The Quantum Data Center was made possible in part by a $5.5 million investment from the University of Maryland to quicken advancements in research, innovation and learning, creating economic and social benefits for Maryland and beyond.

"Quantum computing technology will mature in this important new facility, and we are proud to partner with IonQ on it," said UMD President Darryll J. Pines. "The new data center with all its capabilities will enhance our standing as a major international center for the development of quantum science and computing."

IonQ's first major expansion will feature increased reliability via both on-site generators and battery backups, backup quantum computers and advanced security. It will also include redundant connections to the Internet2 backbone, the nation's coast-to-coast research network that provides secure research environments for universities. 

The company grew out of the research of co-founders Chris Monroe, Distinguished University Professor and Bice-Sechi Zorn Professor in the Department of Physics, and Duke University Professor Jungsang Kim. Monroe is a pioneer in “trapped ion” computing, which uses highly stable atoms as quantum bits, or “qubits” to store information.    

Last month IonQ announced the world's most powerful quantum computer, unveiling a next-generation system featuring 32 perfect atomic qubits with low gate errors and an expected quantum volume greater than 4,000,000. Currently, IonQ is working on three new generations of quantum computers in parallel, with each expected to be exponentially more powerful than the last.

The new Quantum Data Center can accommodate 10 quantum computers, with space for more as IonQ's systems simultaneously scale down in size and scale up in number of qubits with each new generation. The new space also features 10 conference rooms, Class A office space and two clean rooms for scientific research to enable increased productivity. The combined space can support up to 175 employees, and IonQ has already hired 25 new employees following recent fundraising and expects to continue aggressively recruiting talent.

IonQ’s growth contributes to the $2 billion revitalization of the area known as Greater College Park. The public-private partnership around the Baltimore Avenue area has produced a massive swath of redevelopment, including new housing, retail and other business enterprises, including the Hotel at the University of Maryland, Adobe and Capital One (all in the research-focused Discovery District), and the new city hall complex and Southern Gateway mixed-use development now under construction. 

Maryland Today is produced by the Office of Marketing and Communications for the University of Maryland community on weekdays during the academic year, except for university holidays.