IBM announced plans to pump $3 billion into an overhaul of computer chip technology to better meet modern demands of "Big Data" and computing pushed to the Internet "cloud."
The New York-based firm hopes to leave behind the silicon long used in computer chips for a material that could ramp up power while shrinking processors to molecular levels.
Services and programmes are increasingly being hosted at data centres in the Internet cloud, and companies are keen to mine and quickly analyse mountains of data available in the Internet age.
But chip technology is hitting limits in regard to improving speed, size, power-efficiency and other features, according to IBM.
The company said the money will be used over the next five years to beef up research teams in areas including carbon nanoelectronics, silicon photonics, new memory technologies, and architectures for quantum and cognitive computing.
"In the next ten years computing hardware systems will be fundamentally different as our scientists and engineers push the limits of semiconductor innovations to explore a post-silicon future," IBM's Systems and Technology Group senior vice president Tom Rosamilia.
IBM maintained there is urgent need for new material to power chips of the future along with "new computing platforms to solve problems that are unsolvable or difficult to solve today."
Among IBM goals is to emulate the processing efficiency of the human brain. "Businesses are entering a new era of computing that requires systems to process and analyse, in real-time, huge volumes of information known as Big Data," IBM said.