IBM sees revenue from quantum computing in as soon as two years

Register now

(Bloomberg) --International Business Machines Corp. took another step toward bringing the world of quantum computing to commercial applications -- and Chief Executive Officer Ginni Rometty sees real results coming as soon as 2021.

"We’re probably in a two- to five-year time frame that you’ll actually start to see commercial businesses doing real commercial applications," Rometty said in an interview Tuesday on Bloomberg TV. "And then that means revenue."

IBM introduced a quantum computing system geared for commercial and scientific use at the CES trade show in Las Vegas. Known as IBM Q System One, it may one day be used to find new ways to model financial data or optimize fleet operations for deliveries, according to a statement from the company.

IBM is locked in a race with Alphabet Inc.’s Google, Microsoft Corp. and others in building machines that businesses can use to solve difficult real-world problems currently beyond the reach of the most powerful conventional supercomputers. But quantum computers are still in the experimental phase. The announcement Tuesday comes a little more than a year after IBM said it had created a prototype 50 qubit quantum computer, moving it closer to “quantum supremacy.”

Rometty has been trying to steer IBM toward more modern businesses, such as the cloud, quantum computing and artificial intelligence, as she turns the company away from existing hardware, software and services that have been a drag on sales.

Separately, IBM is working with Delta Air Lines Inc. to apply artificial intelligence in customer service and maintenance. The company’s technology will be able to predict turbulence as much as an hour in advance, helping pilots ensure they have enough fuel or adjust the flight path, Rometty said.

Bloomberg News