President & General Manager, IBM Canada
Quantum computing has the potential to solve our most complex challenges that are impossible for even the world’s most powerful supercomputers. For a growing number of Canadian businesses, researchers and governments, proficiency in quantum computing is becoming critical as the technology moves beyond laboratory science to real-world application.
“While Canada is in an excellent position as a leader in quantum research — ranked fifth in the G7 and first per capita — global competition is intensifying to capitalize on this burgeoning industry,” said Claude Guay, President and General Manager of IBM Canada.
The federal government announced in Budget 2021 a $360-million funding commitment to build a National Quantum Strategy. This is welcome news for IBM, which believes that open source access and adoption is how an ecosystem of developers, scientists, educators, and professionals across different industries will get quantum ready for this next generation of computing.
By 2030, Canada is expected to grow an $8.2 billion quantum technology industry, employing 16,000 people. By 2040, quantum technology is expected to reach 50 percent adoption, growing into a $142.4 billion industry and sustaining 229,000 jobs in Canada.
“Scaling a global community is key to advancing quantum computing for science and business,” Guay said.
Real-world applications of quantum are being tested right now in industries like financial services to better predict the complexity of the markets, and improve fraud detection and risk analysis. Other near-term applications of quantum technology include simulating chemical reactions to discover tomorrow’s sustainable batteries and carbon capture technologies. Another research area is quantum-safe encryption, as the power of future quantum computers could crack today’s toughest encryption schemes. Thankfully, companies like IBM are already developing technology to protect against this potentiality.
“Preparing today for the growth of quantum computing ensures your business is quantum ready: training the necessary talent and developing the best use cases for quantum systems to create business value,” Guay said.
In 2020, IBM expanded its Quantum Network in Canada by launching a Quantum Hub at the Université de Sherbrooke’s Institute Quantique. This joint team of IBM quantum experts works with researchers and businesses, such as CMC Microsystems, to provide cloud-based access to the world’s most advanced quantum systems.
“This collaborative approach to quantum computing is how we ensure that Canadians are ready when quantum revolutionizes industries from coast to coast,” Guay said. “To be sure, we will need more mathematicians and physicists who can work deeply within a quantum system to optimize performance, but we will also need front-end, quantum-proficient software developers who can tune the technology to focus on practical uses as well as business professionals who can translate business needs to use with this emerging technology.”
Co-existing within a conventional computing environment, quantum is poised to reinvent the worlds of business, science, education, and government in fundamentally new ways.
“It took classical computing many decades to mature to the sophisticated cloud-based services of today — yet quantum computing can take this same leap in just a few short years. We believe we can get there together, and that Canada can continue to lead the way,” Guay said.