Tech pioneer traces roots through partnership

Highly qualified personnel and skills training help drive company growth

A recipient of the World Economic Forum 2015 Technology Pioneer Award, Vancouver-based quantum computing company 1QBit is a leader among the most promising technology companies. The company works closely with Fortune 500 clients and leading hardware providers to solve problems in the areas of optimization, simulation, and machine learning. 

To further the development of its products in a cost-effective manner, 1QBit partners with Mitacs to source top talent. In seven years, 1QBit has grown from a four-person start-up to a global leader in quantum computing employing over 130 people located across Canada and the U.S. 

Over the years, Mitacs has connected 1QBit with more than 55 interns, including graduate and undergraduate students from Canadian and international postsecondary institutions; these current and former interns now comprise nearly one half of the 1QBit team including four key senior researchers. 

“Mitacs has been an invaluable resource supporting the growth of 1QBit. They have connected us to universities and helped us source top research talent and have enabled us to leverage government funding to maximize our investment in groundbreaking research,” said Landon Downs, President, and Co-founder of 1QBit. 

Mitacs interns have helped develop computing algorithms to study the capabilities of the first commercially available quantum computers, assessing their potential to solve a large variety of complex problems faster than classical computers. 

According to 1QBit, Mitacs has been an invaluable resource supporting their growth, connecting them to universities, and helping source top talent. 

“Without access to the local and international research programs that Mitacs provides across specializations like quantum computing, optimization, and machine learning, 1QBit would not have achieved the same industrial impact and successful growth across Canada,” said Andrew Fursman, Co-founder and CEO, 1QBit. 

Mitacs and 1QBit share a common vision linking industry and academia. While Mitacs facilitates industry opportunities for talented researchers, 1QBit provides the environment that enables interns to grow professionally and build innovative, research-based solutions to real-world problems. 

Looking back on the partnership that has developed since 2013, Fursman said, “Of the 130 people who have since joined 1QBit, just under half have been directly related to Mitacs. Looking to the future, we have over 100 more Mitacs internships already planned.” 

Exceptional leadership—Industry 

1QBit’s leadership commitment extends beyond solving the most challenging industry problems with forward-thinking, advanced computing technology; the company is also committed to supporting research interns’ development into industry professionals. For their remarkable contributions, the company received the 2020 Mitacs Award for Exceptional Leadership — Industry. 

As well as the corporate award, two of 1QBit’s Mitacs interns were singled out and nominated for their outstanding research. 

Anish Verma, from the University of Guelph, was nominated for the Mitacs Award for Outstanding Innovation—Master’s, in recognition of his significant achievement in nuclear physics research using quantum computing techniques with a view to applying his methodology to financial systems. 

Dr. Kyle Mills, now a full-time employee at 1QBit who completed his PhD in 2021 in Modelling and Computational Sciences at Ontario Tech University, was nominated for the Mitacs Award for Outstanding Innovation—PhD. His work focused on using reinforcement learning to study quantum systems. 

“The internship helped me learn new techniques in artificial intelligence, as well as exposed me to the field of quantum computing. The research project used reinforcement learning to assist in the optimization of spin Hamiltonians, resulting in a relatively high impact journal article featured on the cover of Nature Machine Intelligence.” 

Grown from common ground 

The foundation of 1QBit was built with the help of Mitacs. Discussing the early days of the company, 1QBit Fursman says, “When my co-founder and I put the first dollars into 1QBit’s brand new, empty bank account, we knew we were making an investment in our future and we cut our first corporate cheque to Mitacs.” 

“1QBit isn’t just building a successful business,” said Fursman. “It’s part of a national effort to build a new anchor industry of advanced computing in Canada.” 

Canada is becoming a world leader in AI, advanced information processing, and real-world quantum computing. Although quantum technology is in its early stages, this is just the beginning. With offices in Vancouver, Waterloo, and Sherbrooke, as well as strong partnerships in Alberta and Saskatchewan, 1QBit spans across country as a key player in these areas. 

Exceptional people are at the forefront of advanced computing; together, 1QBit and Mitacs are dedicated to developing the next generation of Canadian innovation leaders. 

Mitacs’s programs receive funding from multiple partners across Canada. We thank the Government of Canada, the Government of Alberta, the Government of British Columbia, Research Manitoba, the Government of New Brunswick, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, the Government of Nova Scotia, the Government of Ontario, Innovation PEI, the Government of Quebec, Fonds de recherche du Québec – Nature et technologies, the Government of Saskatchewan, and the Government of Yukon for supporting us to foster innovation and economic growth throughout the country. 

Do you have a business challenge that could benefit from a research solution? If so, contact Mitacs today to discuss partnership opportunities: 


Mitacs empowers Canadian innovation through effective partnerships that deliver solutions to our most pressing problems. By driving economic growth and productivity, we create meaningful change to improve quality of life for all Canadians.