Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Delta explores Quantum Computing with IBM

William Payne
January 16, 2020

Delta Air Lines is engaging in a multi-year collaboration with IBM to explore the potential of quantum computing to transform customer and employee experiences. 

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 to. The airline is using technology to extend the warmth of its people to non-traditional airline touchpoints and delivering innovative experiences that reduce stress across the travel day.

The IBM Q Network is a 100-plus strong global community of Fortune 500 companies, startups, academic institutions and research labs working to advance quantum computing and explore practical applications.

Through the IBM Q Hub at NC State University, Delta will have access to the IBM Q Network's range of quantum computers. According to IBM, this is the world's largest fleet of universal hardware quantum computers for commercial use cases and fundamental research. It includes the recently-announced 53-qubit quantum computer, which to date has the most qubits of a universal quantum computer available for external access in the industry.

"IBM's focus, since we put the very first quantum computer on the cloud in 2016, has been to move quantum computing beyond isolated lab experiments conducted by a handful of organizations, into the hands of tens of thousands of users," said Director of IBM Research Dario Gil. "We believe a clear advantage will be awarded to early adopters in the era of quantum computing and with partners like Delta, we're already making significant progress on that mission."

"Partnering with innovative companies like IBM is one way Delta stays on the leading edge of tech to better serve our customers 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, chemical research, logistics and more," said Jamie Thomas, General Manager, Strategy and Development for IBM Systems.