Quantum Computers Topic of Kelly’s Warren County EDC Luncheon Talk

This article originally appeared in the Lake George Mirror.

More than 300 million Smart Sensor Network readings have been taken to date in Lake George since the Jefferson Project was launched in 2013.

The collaboration between IBM, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and The Fund for Lake George gives scientists a real-time view of everything impacting the lake, from wind and weather to human impacts such as road salt and storm runoff.

The goal is to identify and mitigate problems in order to preserve and protect lake water quality.

Lake George is a major economic engine for this county,” said John E. Kelly III, IBM senior vice president, cognitive solutions & IBM Research.

We don’t want to see Lake George go the way of many other lakes in this country.”

Kelly was keynote speaker at Warren County Economic Development Corporation’s recent annual luncheon with more than 250 people on hand at Great Escape Lodge in Queensbury.

Kelly, who obtained his undergraduate degree from Union College and his master’s and doctorate from RPI, oversees 3,000 scientists working at a dozen IBM labs in 10 countries including China, South Africa and Australia.

He also led the strategy, negotiations and transition of IBM’s semiconductor manufacturing business to GlobalFoundries, in Malta.

The topic of his address was “The Era of Cognitive Computing and Artificial Intelligence.”

IBM’s work on Lake George is one small example of the “Brave New World” society can expect in the near future as computer advancements revolutionize the way people do business in virtually every industry such as healthcare, agriculture and sports, Kelly said.

With classical computers, people program them to perform certain functions.

However, a new generation of “smart” quantum computers that think for themselves is about to replace classical computers, which could eventually make programming obsolete.

All we have to do is give it the data and it will train itself,” Kelly said. “We are at incredible point in time, not just for technology, but for society.

Quantum computers will solve problems classical computers could never solve.

With a few hundred cubits we can do more calculations than billions of transistors.

When these systems hit, computers will do calculations that we as humans can hardly imagine.” IBM recently installed the world’s fastest super-computer, called Summit, at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee.

It is capable of performing 200 billion calculations every millionth of a second. It’s also so large that it requires 300 megawatts of electricity to operate. Work at Oak Ridge is done in many areas including materials research for new energy and new aircraft, solar energy, research with pharmaceutical companies for drug discovery, plus other medical healthcare applications.

It’s basically open science,” Kelly said. “Industry and academia across the United States now have access to the world’s fastest computer. It’s a race. Countries that build the best artificial intelligence are going to win big time.”

Technological advancements will eliminate some jobs, but also create an “on ramp” for people to enter the workforce because “smart” machines augment their tasks and help them do a better job, Kelly said.

Artificial intelligence is here to stay,” he said.

 

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