DURHAM – The quantum computing company with ties to Duke University, IonQ, Inc., is going public with a big bang.

IonQ on Monday said it had entered into a definitive merger agreement with dMY Technology Group, Inc. III (NYSE: DMYI.U), a publicly traded special purpose acquisition company, or SPAC, as the trend of private companies merging with SPACs continues to accelerate in 2021.

The deal is valued at $2 billion.

After over 25 years of academic research, IonQ was founded in 2015 by Chris Monroe and Jungsang Kim.

Both are members of Duke’s faculty. Kim is the firm’s chief technology officer, and Monroe is chief scientist.

Kim has been a member of the faculty at Duke University who leads the Multifunctional Integrated Systems Technology group and has been on staff at the university for nearly 17 years.

Monroe is director of the Duke Quantum Center.

The company, which is based in College Park, Md., utilizes technology licensed from Duke and the University of Maryland.

Upon closing of the transaction, IonQ shares will trade on the NYSE under the symbol “IONQ” as the first publicly traded pure-play hardware and software company in the quantum computing space.

“This transaction advances IonQ’s mission, to solve critical problems that impact nearly every aspect of society,” said Peter Chapman, CEO and president of IonQ.

The combined entity will receive approximately $300 million from dMY III’s trust account, assuming no redemptions by dMY III’s public stockholders, as well as $350 million in gross proceeds from a group of strategic and institutional investors participating in the transaction via a committed private placement investment (“PIPE”)

At its founding, the company received $2 million in seed funding from New Enterprise Associates, as well as a license to its core technology from the University of Maryland and Duke University, and an ambitious goal of taking trapped ion quantum computing out of the lab and into the commercial market.

According to the company’s website, in the three years following its founding, it raised an additional $20 million from GV, Amazon Web Services, and NEA, and built two of the world’s most accurate quantum computers.  The company raised an additional $55 million in a round led by Samsung and Mubadala and announced partnerships with Microsoft and Amazon Web Services.

That allowed the company to build the first and only quantum computer available via the cloud on both Amazon Braket and Microsoft Azure, according to a release issued by IonQ.

By 2023, IonQ plans to develop modular quantum computers small enough to be networked together, which could pave the way for broad quantum advantage by 2025, it said.

Quantum computing uses information in a fundamentally different way than classical computing—quantum computers are believed to be able to solve certain computational problems, like integer factorization (the basis of the widely-used RSA encryption that currently allows secure data transmission), substantially faster than classical computers currently can.

The study of quantum computing is a subfield of quantum information science, and thus is set up to address—and, according to IonQ, solve—a set of hard problems classical computing may never solve including those most pressing for society’s needs.  They include, as an example, which the company listed in its release, how to live sustainably on our planet, how to cure diseases, and how to efficiently move people and goods.

Because they are based on quantum information rather than classical information, IonQ believes the best way to solve these, and other challenges, potentially including climate change, is to use quantum computing and quantum computers such as the ones they’ve developed based on 25 years of research at the University of Maryland and at Duke.

“We look forward to leveraging the power of quantum computing in the fight against climate change and to solve vexing problems from materials design to logistics that impact the transportation industry,” said Chapman.

Investors include Fidelity Management & Research Company LLC, Breakthrough Energy Ventures, Hyundai Motor Company and Kia Corporation, Silver Lake, MSD Partners, L.P., and TIME Ventures, the investment fund for Marc Benioff.