Q&A: IBM CEO Ginni Rometty on the Promise and Potential of Quantum Computing
Q&A with Ginni Rometty, CEO of IBM and Chair of the Business Roundtable Education and Workforce Committee
Q: What are the implications of quantum computing?
Rometty: In five years, the impact of quantum computing will reach far beyond the research lab. Industry and government will rely on quantum technology to solve important questions that can’t be answered with today’s computers and that can have positive impacts on society in areas ranging from new forms of chemistry and medicine, to better ways of moving people and goods.
Q: What previously-unimaginable activities or capabilities will quantum computing make a reality?
Rometty: We expect early use cases of quantum computing will be in fields such as molecular chemistry and materials, financial modeling and risk analytics, and machine learning. In the future, quantum computing could be used to drive the development of new life-saving medications, diagnose illnesses sooner with machine learning, or unlock new ways to model financial data and make better investments.
Q: What’s the right balance between industry and government investment to make sure America leads on quantum computing?
Rometty: There has to be partnership between government, industry and academia to fund research, build and engineer the components that go into these systems, create a quantum-ready workforce, and use quantum in a way that will drive economic success. There should be National Quantum Computing Centers at the various National Laboratories run by the federal government. And legislation like the Quantum Computing Research Act of 2018 is a step in the right direction as we look to expand funding and put the most advanced quantum computers in the world into the hands of U.S. research scientists and engineers.
Q: Today, there is a limited number of leading researchers and experts in the field of quantum computing. What is the best approach to attract and develop new talent in this important field?
Rometty: We all must do more together to drive talent development in quantum computing. Students from over 1500 academic institutions worldwide are today using the IBM Q experience and the quantum software-development kit for education and skill development. But industry efforts alone are not enough to develop the necessary skills in quantum information science. Government at the federal and regional levels should work with industry and academia to create and expand opportunities for more Americans to work with quantum and all emerging technologies.