The major themes of IBM’s recently concluded Think 2022 conference included sustainability, innovation and research, talent retention, and automation. The Big Blue also revealed its intent to develop a 4000+ qubit quantum computer by 2025.
Let’s look at the important announcements made at the conference.
IBM debuted its first integrated quantum computer system, called the IBM Quantum System One, in 2019. In 2020, the tech giant announced the roadmap to build a suite of scalable, larger and better processors. In the latest Think conference, IBM revealed its ambitious plan to build a 4158 qubit system by 2025.
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“In just two years, our team has made incredible progress on our existing quantum roadmap. Executing on our vision has given us clear visibility into the future of quantum and what it will take to get us to the practical quantum computing era,” said Darío Gil, senior vice president, Director of Research, IBM.
IBM is on track to build a frictionless development experience with Qiskit Runtime and workflows built into the cloud to bring a serverless approach into IBM’s core quantum software stack. The move is geared towards achieving intelligent and efficient distribution of problems across quantum and classical systems, and building the foundation for an era of quantum-centric supercomputing.
IBM has delivered on its quantum roadmap so far. The company is slated to launch its 433-qubit processor, IBM Osprey, later this year. IBM has also announced the world’s first universal quantum processor with 1000+ qubits, IBM Condor, for 2023.
IBM has to solve a few problems to reach 4,000 qubits, said CEO Arvind Krishna. However, he expressed confidence in the tech giant’s 2025 timeline.
The CEO said the quantum computing is expected to move beyond the experimentation phase by 2025. He cited a few use cases for quantum computing such as analysing materials like lithium hydride to build better batteries, drug discovery, etc.
AI adoption & sustainability
According to IBM’s Global AI Adoption Index 2022, the global AI adoption rate is growing steadily, and stands at 35 percent, a four-point increase from last year. IBM surveyed 7,502 senior business decision-makers in countries such as the US, China, India, UAE, South Korea, Australia, Singapore, Canada, UK, Italy, Spain, France, Germany, Brazil, Mexico, Colombia, Argentina, Chile and Peru.
Around 30 percent respondents said AI and automation helped save time. Further, around 44 percent of organisations are working on integrating AI in their current applications and processes.
As much as 74 percent of companies have not committed resources to reduce AI bias. Around 68 percent haven’t taken steps to track performance variations and model drift. Also, 61 percent of the organisations don’t have a mechanism to explain AI-powered decisions, the report found.
Most of the surveyed companies said sustainability was an important aspect of their business. Around 64 percent of the respondents said they use AI to accelerate their ESG initiatives. Nearly 36 percent of them are investing in sustainability-related AI.
In 2022, a third of companies said they are using AI to drive more efficient business processes and operations.
Talent shortage & cybersecurity
IBM announced partnerships with six Historically Black Colleges & Universities (HBCUs), the US Department of Veterans Affairs and Specialisterne Foundation. IBM plans to address the talent shortage and cybersecurity crisis through these partnerships.
IBM will provide the six HBCUs access to a customised multi-year cybersecurity experience. The idea is to provide an immersive learning experience to expand the university’s capacity to develop top talent in cybersecurity.
By partnering with the US Department of Veterans Affairs and Specialisterne Foundation, IBM will offer training to transitioning service members for high in-demand technology careers.