IBM to focus on AI and hybrid cloud in new chapter for Big Blue


FILE PHOTO: The logo for IBM is displayed on a screen on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., June 27, 2018. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

BERLIN (Reuters) - IBM is rolling out innovations in artificial intelligence, hybrid cloud operations and quantum computing as the company that created the personal computer follows through on a roadmap it set out a year ago.

The U.S. company made the announcements to coincide with its annual Think Conference on Tuesday as it builds momentum following its $34 billion takeover of open-source software company Red Hat two years ago.

IBM, which last month reported its strongest quarterly sales growth in two years, has been restructuring since Arvind Krishna became chief executive a year ago to focus on cloud computing and AI. Last October, IBM announced its legacy IT infrastructure business would shift into a separate firm.

"This year, we are going to talk about progress - and we have made a lot of progress," President Jim Whitehurst told reporters ahead of its Think Conference.

Among product innovations it is rolling out on Tuesday are AI to help companies manage data in the cloud, a system dubbed Watson Orchestrate to help professionals automate tasks such as scheduling meetings and a program to let customers use quantum computers for projects too complex for traditional servers.

Krishna declined to comment on the estimated revenue from the new offerings but told reporters he still expects overall sales to grow slightly in 2021 and by the mid-single digits percentage-wise "over the medium term."

IBM will also unveil Project CodeNet, a large-scale open-source dataset comprising 14 million code samples, 500 million lines of code and 55 programming languages to enable AI to understand and translate code.

The innovations follow IBM's recent announcement of its own platform for 2 nanometer computer chips that are up to 45% faster and 75% more power-efficient than the 7 nm chips that run most smartphones today.

Whitehurst said the 2 nm chips were expected to enter production with IBM's manufacturing partners within "a couple of years".

(Reporting by Douglas Busvine; Additional reporting by Paresh Dave; Editing by Alexander Smith)

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