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IBM Turns to Africa to Create Market for Its Quantum Computers


Jul. 29 2019, Updated 7:49 a.m. ET

IBM grooming quantum developers in Africa

IBM (IBM) has launched a program to train African developers on quantum computing. The company has partnered with more than a dozen African universities to initially train a pool of 200 African students on quantum coding, it said in a press release. IBM’s quantum training program for African students will initially be offered in South Africa in partnership with Wit University.

The goal is to build quantum computing capacity in Africa and make the content ready for quantum computing technology. Quantum computers promise to solve complex computing operations that are currently beyond the capability of conventional supercomputers. In January this year, IBM unveiled its first quantum computer known as IBM Q System One.

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Quantum presents $5.8 billion opportunity

There is already strong demand for quantum computers in fields such as medical research, financial markets, and logistics operations. According to Allied Market Research, the market for quantum computers was worth $650 million in 2017 and will top $5.8 billion by 2025. Besides IBM, the other technology companies pursuing quantum computing dollars are Google (GOOGL) and Microsoft (MSFT), which are also busy developing quantum computing systems. These companies also happen to be among the world’s top cloud computing vendors, an operation that will increasingly require more powerful computing systems as more organizations migrate their workloads to the cloud. IBM is in the process of taking over open-source software provider Red Hat (RHT) to bolster its cloud computing business, which currently lags behind Amazon (AMZN), Microsoft, and Google in terms of market share.

IBM expects its quantum computing business to start generating revenue in 2021, according to a report from Bloomberg. IBM is counting on its Africa program to help it identify potential commercial applications of its quantum computers.


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