Mike Lazaridis at Executing Innovation, Toronto, May 29, 2013

Mike Lazaridis at the GE Look Ahead Executing Innovation summit in Toronto, May 29, 2013. Photo: Michael Belfiore.

I was in Toronto last week for the GE Look Ahead Executing Innovation summit hosted by The Economist. This was a closed meeting of mostly Canadian business leaders sharing ideas across different industries, including healthcare, energy, and information technology.

I got a chance to meet Mike Lazaridis, one of the co-founders of Research in Motion, which makes the Blackberry. He has since left RIM, and just this year, in March, launched a new venture aimed at nothing less than putting Canada at the epicenter of a revolution in computing.

Quantum Valley Investments is part of a $700 million investment in quantum computer based in Waterloo, Ontario, 100 kilometers outside of Toronto that includes the Perimeter Institute of Theoretical physics—also founded by Lazaridis, and at which I have been a speaker—and the University of Waterloo, which is a world-class research institution and a top-three school for recruiting engineers for Google and others.

Lazaridis sees a coming quantum revolution, with computers using atoms as individual bits rather than transistors, and making calculations thousands of times faster than any so-called classical computer.

Another Canadian venture, Vancouver-based D-Wave has been making news lately with the first quantum computer to market, but it’s still in very early stages. Lazaridis is aiming for something much larger. “We’d like to get into…a whole new industrial revolution,” he said at the event.