Hello,

We noticed you're browsing in private or incognito mode.

To continue reading this article, please exit incognito mode or log in.

Not an Insider? Subscribe now for unlimited access to online articles.

Intelligent Machines

AI, Quantum Computing Will Accelerate Materials Discovery

IBM’s Watson is already at work developing novel polymers.

Dario Gil, vice president of science and solutions at IBM Research, at EmTech Digital 2017.

Artificial intelligence is helping to accelerate the identification of promising new materials, said Dario Gil, vice president of science and solutions at IBM Research, at the EmTech Digital conference in San Francisco on Monday.

Machine learning software on a laptop can extract the critical information from scientific papers in seconds, enabling the creation of vast knowledge graphs across wide bodies of research in weeks rather than decades, Gil said. It means scientists can apply algorithms and simulations to extract insights from a far bigger pool of patents, papers and other reports than any single person could ever hope to read.

Gil didn’t point to specific breakthroughs to date. But he said IBM is already applying its Watson artificial intelligence system in an effort to discover novel polymers. For all the advances in AI and computing, though, he said even the world’s most powerful supercomputers are still often stumped, such as in trying to predict the electronic structure of molecules. IBM, however, sees great potential here in the rise of quantum computing, which can dramatically accelerate calculations and more closely mimic nature by tapping into the weird properties of quantum physics.

The company unveiled a new quantum chip last year, and earlier this month announced plans to build a cloud-based, commercially-available quantum computing system. “We anticipate that we’re going to see quite dramatic advances in this year and the next, in terms of the power of quantum computers,” he said.

Hear more about AI from the experts at the EmTech Digital Conference, March 26-27, 2018 in San Francisco.

Learn more and register
More from Intelligent Machines

Artificial intelligence and robots are transforming how we work and live.

Want more award-winning journalism? Subscribe and become an Insider.
  • Insider Plus {! insider.prices.plus !}* Best Value

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Everything included in Insider Basic, plus the digital magazine, extensive archive, ad-free web experience, and discounts to partner offerings and MIT Technology Review events.

    See details+

    What's Included

    Unlimited 24/7 access to MIT Technology Review’s website

    The Download: our daily newsletter of what's important in technology and innovation

    Bimonthly print magazine (6 issues per year)

    Bimonthly digital/PDF edition

    Access to the magazine PDF archive—thousands of articles going back to 1899 at your fingertips

    Special interest publications

    Discount to MIT Technology Review events

    Special discounts to select partner offerings

    Ad-free web experience

  • Insider Basic {! insider.prices.basic !}*

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Six issues of our award winning print magazine, unlimited online access plus The Download with the top tech stories delivered daily to your inbox.

    See details+

    What's Included

    Unlimited 24/7 access to MIT Technology Review’s website

    The Download: our daily newsletter of what's important in technology and innovation

    Bimonthly print magazine (6 issues per year)

  • Insider Online Only {! insider.prices.online !}*

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Unlimited online access including articles and video, plus The Download with the top tech stories delivered daily to your inbox.

    See details+

    What's Included

    Unlimited 24/7 access to MIT Technology Review’s website

    The Download: our daily newsletter of what's important in technology and innovation

/3
You've read of three free articles this month. for unlimited online access. You've read of three free articles this month. for unlimited online access. This is your last free article this month. for unlimited online access. You've read all your free articles this month. for unlimited online access. You've read of three free articles this month. for more, or for unlimited online access. for two more free articles, or for unlimited online access.