Artificial Intelligence

IBM Shows How AI Can Accelerate Discovery

Overview Artificial intelligence technology is the ultimate lab partner in IBM’s new research and development process. The company has envisioned an accelerated discovery method to find solutions to big challenges faster.

We can radically change the process of how we conduct discovery, accelerating and supercharging the traditional scientific method, according to Dario Gil, SVP and director of IBM Research.

This accelerated discovery process builds on IBM’s latest innovations in artificial intelligence (AI), quantum and high-performance computing, and hybrid cloud.  


Surveying, Augmenting and Predicting with AI

AI is the cornerstone of the accelerated discovery process, bringing the brains to the new scientific method by:

Collecting and synthesizing known information. Thanks to advances in technology, AI systems can now perform cognitive tasks by interpreting and analyzing data that they have learned from large, labeled datasets.

Augmenting the known data with rich simulation. This involves predicting properties by using high-performance or quantum computing to fill in a quantitative data set with enough data to generate a training model.

Predicting potential solutions with the desired attributes based on a model with predicted properties. These hypotheses can expand the creativity of scientists and broaden the discovery space.

“AI is becoming increasingly powerful,” Gil said. “It’s really enabling unprecedented levels of speed and automation and scale, helping us solve ever more complex problems.”

With innovations in algorithms and hardware, IBM is creating, deploying and scaling increasingly complex models and networks.


AI is becoming increasingly powerful. It’s really enabling unprecedented levels of speed and automation and scale, helping us solve ever more complex problems.

Dario Gil
SVP and Director, IBM Research

Modeling and Simulation with High-Performance and Quantum Computing

“Continuous advances in high-performance computing have enabled modeling and simulation,” Gil said, “that allowed us to speed up the cycles of hypotheses and testing, leading to today’s big data-driven science.”

However, even with high-performance computing from what is known as supercomputers, the traditional scientific method is slow, especially when confronted with urgent challenges to society. 

Enter quantum computing.

Quantum computing helps get to the correct answer faster and more accurately than a classical computer could.

“We expect quantum computers to answer technologically relevant questions that are simply out of reach of supercomputers,” Gil said.


Scaling with the Cloud

To make artificial intelligence and quantum computing available across the globe and to institutions, a flexible hybrid cloud is needed.

“Having cloud will unify these technologies to give us virtually limitless pools of computing power and capability,” Gil said.

Paired with autonomous labs designed to execute procedures based on the AI-derived hypothesis, this process for accelerated discovery can help address the biggest challenges faster.

“I am certain that tomorrow's most innovative businesses will be discovery-driven enterprises,” Gil said. “They will seek the platforms, tools and technologies that will allow them to accelerate the discovery process that gives them their competitive advantage.”


Take a deeper dive with Dario Gil into the accelerated discovery process in the CES® 2021 session “IBM: Accelerating Discovery to Solve Big Challenges.”

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