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NC State Names Executive Director, Chief Scientist for IBM Q Hub

Inside the IBM Q Network.
Inside the IBM Q Network. Photo by Connie Zhou.

Written by Morgan High of the Office of Partnerships and Economic Development

NC State recently named two leaders for the new IBM Quantum Computing Hub on Centennial Campus.

Daniel Stancil, Alcoa Distinguished Professor and head of NC State’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, will be executive director of the hub, and Patrick Dreher, research professor in the Department of Computer Science and associate faculty member in the Department of Physics, will be the hub’s chief scientist.

In May 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 top Fortune 500 companies, national research labs and leading universities to advance quantum computing. The network provides early access to IBM’s quantum computing systems, with the goal of exploring practical applications important to business and science. Those include molecular modeling, machine learning, physics, materials science, chemical simulations, complex optimization problems and quantitative finance.

As executive director, Stancil will oversee the hub’s strategic operations, including partnerships with industry, government and other universities. Dreher will identify strategic research opportunities for quantum computing at NC State and guide the development of curriculum and education programs. Stancil and Dreher also will work closely with the hub’s steering and research and education advisory committees.

Daniel Stancil, IBM Q Hub at NC State executive director.
Daniel Stancil, IBM Q Hub at NC State executive director.

“Dr. Stancil has vast experience leading complex interdisciplinary initiatives within research universities,” said Dennis Kekas, associate vice chancellor for partnerships and economic development, and Q Hub steering committee member. “He is a great fit to oversee the development of the IBM Q Hub at NC State.”

Stancil has spent many years as a professor of electrical and computer engineering at both Carnegie Mellon University and NC State. While at Carnegie Mellon, he served as associate head of the electrical and computer engineering department, and associate dean for academic affairs in the College of Engineering. He has been department head at NC State since 2009. Stancil received his doctorate and master’s degree in engineering from MIT.

Patrick Dreher, IBM Q Hub at NC State chief scientist.
Patrick Dreher, IBM Q Hub at NC State chief scientist.

“Dr. Dreher brings decades of experience from industry, government and academia,” said Mladen Vouk, vice chancellor for research and innovation, and Q Hub steering committee member. “His leadership will advance NC State’s quantum computing research and education initiatives.”

Dreher has more than 25 years of research experience in the applications of computer technologies to science and engineering research problems. Prior to joining NC State, he held senior scientific and R&D management positions at MIT, and served in similar roles in both government research labs and industry. Dreher’s scientific interests range from potential quantum computing applications for fundamental physics to interfaces with computer science and areas of quantitative finance. Dreher received his doctorate in physics from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and MBA from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

The IBM Q Hub at NC State became operational on Centennial Campus in fall 2018, providing NC State remote access to IBM Q commercial quantum computing devices, including the most advanced and scalable universal systems available. The current 20 qubit IBM Q system will be followed by a 50 qubit prototype in the next generation.

NC State students, faculty and staff interested in learning more or requesting access to the IBM Q Hub at NC State commercial network should visit https://quantum.ncsu.edu.

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