The University of Southern California (USC) has announced that it has launched the single largest comprehensive academic initiative in the university’s history — Frontiers of Computing. The initiative integrates computing throughout education and research to enhance digital literacy for all students as the university aims to hold its lead as a top provider of tech professionals.

USC President Carol L. Folt says that quantum computing and AI will be a big part of the $1 billion-plus initiative. In addition to a focus on AI and machine learning, Folt said that “data science, augmented and virtual reality, robotics, gaming, and blockchain” will all be part of the initiative.

“I want every student who comes through our programs, whether they are in science, business, the humanities, or the arts, to have a solid grounding in technology and the ethics of the work that they do,” Folt said. “We will integrate digital literacy across disciplines to create responsible leaders for the workforce of the future.”

Seeded with a $260 million gift from the Lord Foundation of California, USC Frontiers of Computing encompasses a multipronged effort to push the boundaries of computing into a new era.

USC leaders began developing Frontiers of Computing three years ago, before the recent rise of artificial intelligence and generative AI.

USC already is the leading provider of tech talent for the nation. More than 1,300 students per year graduate with bachelor’s, master’s, and PhDs in computer science.

“We all know the world is changing very fast right now,” Folt said. “We need to take that momentum of change — and couple it with USC’s history of innovation — to create what has never been done before. And we’re going to do it.”

How Big Rio Can Help

Much like the USC initiative, one of BigRio’s ultimate goals is to help foster the next generation of IT innovators with our focus on the support of startups in AI and quantum computing.

Quantum computing is still very much an emerging technology with large-scale and practical applications still a way off. However, the technology is steadily graduating from the lab and heading for the marketplace. In 2019, Google announced that it had achieved “quantum supremacy,” IBM has committed to doubling the power of its quantum computers every year, and numerous other companies and academic institutions are investing billions toward making quantum computing a commercial reality.

Quantum computing will take artificial intelligence and machine learning to the next level. For example, quantum computing’s ability to process and manipulate vast amounts of data simultaneously can enhance data processing capabilities in AI systems. This is particularly beneficial for handling big data applications, where quantum computers can provide faster data analysis, more efficient data clustering, and improved data compression techniques.

The marriage between the two is an area to pay very close attention to for startups as well as for where Big Tech will be going over the next five to ten years, and wherever this road can take us, BigRio will be there to help get startups and society as a whole to its ultimate destination.

You can read much more about how quantum computing will redefine AI and machine learning in my new book Quantum Care: A Deep Dive into AI for Health Delivery and Research. It’s a comprehensive look at how AI is being used to improve healthcare and society as a whole.

Rohit Mahajan is a Managing Partner with BigRio. He has particular expertise in the development and design of innovative solutions for clients in Healthcare, Financial Services, Retail, Automotive, Manufacturing, and other industry segments.

BigRio is a technology consulting firm empowering data to drive innovation and advanced AI. We specialize in cutting-edge Big Data, Machine Learning, and Custom Software strategy, analysis, architecture, and implementation solutions. If you would like to benefit from our expertise in these areas or if you have further questions on the content of this article, please do not hesitate to contact us.