Newsletter Signup

Site Search

IBM, Quantum Computing Partners Research Sustainable Energy Opportunities

May 28, 2024 by Joe Panettieri

IBM and multiple partners have launched a quantum computing working group focused on sustainability and energy transition research.

The effort involves such collaborators as PINQ², Université de Sherbrooke, Hydro-Québec, University of Luxembourg, and E.ON. The working group is striving to "gather the best scientists from the quantum and sustainability communities with the ambitious goal of designing quantum computing and hybrid solutions to address sustainability challenges in the fields of materials and energy," according to a blog from IBM.

Arvind Krishna, CEO, IBM

Quantum computing is a strategic imperative for IBM. And for good reason: Under former CEOs Sam Palmisano (2003-2011) and Ginny Rometti (2012-2020), IBM largely missed the mobile computing and public cloud services market booms -- which Apple, Samsung, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud and Microsoft Azure largely dominate. Moreover, IBM's early AI technology efforts -- under the Watson banner -- sometimes missed the mark, particularly in the health care market.

Under current CEO Arvind Krishna, IBM has acquired dozens of IT consulting companies and some SaaS businesses focused on cloud services, and increasingly activated its software on third-party clouds. Moreover, the rebranded Watson X is pushing hard into AI applications. Longer term, IBM sees quantum computing as an emerging market opportunity that few technology companies have the resources to master and productize.

Related: IBM Sustainability Strategy, Partnerships and Net Zero Goals

IBM Quantum Computing Strategy, Sustainability Research

Indeed, quantum computing uses specialized technology—including computer hardware and algorithms that take advantage of quantum mechanics—to solve complex problems that classical computers or supercomputers can’t solve, or can’t solve quickly enough, IBM asserts.

IBM's current quantum technology is called Quantum System One. The company in December 2023 previewed various hardware and associated software called Quantum System Two, which uses three "Heron" chips, Reuters reported. The technology will advance steadily through 2029, before making dramatic advancements somewhere around 2033, IBM told Reuters.

Meanwhile, sustainability is the fifth quantum computing working group that IBM has launched as of May 2024. The other four are:

  1. healthcare & life sciences;
  2. materials science;
  3. high energy physics; and
  4. optimization.

The sustainability working group is researching new methods to help "store and deliver energy more efficiently, improve our power systems, and tackle climate change overall."

IBM did not disclose how frequently the working group will meet, or specific deadlines for the resulting work.

Market Growth Forecast, Competitors

Roughly 270 Fortune 500 companies, universities, laboratories and startups are IBM Quantum Network members. The members have "access to exclusive meetings and select channels" and "collaborate widely, and benefit from close working relationships with our in-house experts."

The current market is relatively small, but advocates expect rapid growth over the next decade.

Indeed, annual quantum computing revenue will reach $12.6 billion by 2032, up from $1.2 billion in 2024, Fortune Business Insights predicts. That's a 34.8% compound annual growth rate (CAGR), the researcher notes.

Although IBM is betting heavily on quantum computing, the company will face intense market competition. Key rivals will likely include chip makers (AMD, Intel, Nvidia, etc.); global IT consulting firms (Accenture, etc.); public cloud service providers (AWS, Google Cloud, Microsoft Azure); various global hardware markers (Fujitsu, Hitachi, Huawei, NEC); startups; and plenty more.

Quantum Computing, Cloud Services and Sustainability Software

It's a safe bet that IBM will both compete and cooperate in the quantum computing market. For instance, we'll be watching to see if or how IBM releases quantum and sustainability resources on third-party clouds. Also, we'll be watching to learn if or how the quantum computing research eventually leads to potential IBM Envizi ESG Suite software updates.

subscribe to our newsletter


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • Latest Updates

  • Most Read

  • Search Our Sustainability Databases

  • Sustainability & Green IT Predictions for 2024

    • Recent Comments
      Most Comments
  • Tab #1
    Tab #2
    Tab Content #1
    Tab Content #2
    linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram