A new data center hosting a quantum computer has launched in Quebec, Canada.

Exaion, an EDF Group subsidiary specializing in the development and operation of ‘eco-responsible digital services platforms,’ recently announced the opening of its data center in Sherbrooke, Canada.

pinq Exaion canada
A data center in a former nuns' convent – PINQ²

The facility, known as Bellevue, is located in the Humano District project, to which it will provide heating and domestic hot water. Spanning 4,000 sq ft, the Tier II quality facility offers 780kW of capacity.

The site hosts a quantum computer from French startup Quandela – its first in North America – as well as Numana's first quantum key distribution test bench for cryptography development in Canada. The site also houses equipment for PINQ², a non-profit organization created by the Université de Sherbrooke and the Ministry of Economy, Innovation and Energy of Quebec.

"We are very proud to inaugurate this data center in Sherbrooke, a project that marks a turning point in the industry thanks to its eco-responsible and decentralized approach,” said Fatih Balyeli, CEO and co-founder of Exaion. “This project perfectly embodies Exaion's vision: to combine technological innovation and environmental compliance to meet the digital challenges of tomorrow. With Bellevue, we demonstrate our ability to go beyond current standards, offering cutting-edge solutions for the most advanced use cases."

Matthieu Cardinal, VP of development at Services Immobiliers First and promoter of the Humano District real estate project, added: "It is with great pride and a sense of accomplishment that Humano District welcomes Exaion's Bellevue computing center, realized in close collaboration with its partners Université de Sherbrooke, DistriQ Innovation Zone, and Énergère, in an emblematic building of Sherbrooke, La Maison Générale des Petites Sœurs de la Sainte-Famille. This innovative computing center, located in the heart of Sherbrooke's innovation zone Quantum sector, will be the preferred eco-responsible heat source for heating Humano District."

PINQ² says the Bellevue data center is located in the former convent of the Gray Nuns of Mont-Ste-Famille at Humano, in the Estrie region of Quebec. The group’s supercomputing infrastructure – known as Harfang and recently inaugurated – totals more than 5800 vCPUs and 160 GPUs, utilizing Intel Xeon Ice Lake CPUs and Nvidia A100 GPUs.

Éric Capelle, CEO of PINQ², said: "We are proud of our partnership with Exaion, a leader in hybrid quantum solutions. This partnership will allow us to further support Quebec companies in their innovation and digital transformation projects.”

Niccolo Somaschi, co-founder & CEO of Quandela, added: "Through this French-Canadian partnership, we are pleased to deploy the first European quantum computer within the Bellevue data center in Sherbrooke. We are fully committed to creating this ecosystem of partners to support industries and organizations in their quantum transformation."

Founded in 2020 and wholly owned by energy firm EDF, Exaion originally said its first decentralized data center, then called QC1, would be up and running in Sherbrooke in October 2022, in partnership with the Université de Sherbrooke. At the time, the company said the goal was to deploy 20 data centers across Canada.

Exaion was launched to offer Web3 (i.e. blockchain) based services from distributed data centers powered by renewable energy. The company launched a Node-as-a-Service platform back in 2022, utilizing EDF group's data centers in Normandy. Today the company says it is focused on upgrading old supercomputers, using largely decarbonized electricity, and recovering waste heat – it still offers blockchain and rendering services.

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