IBM brings quantum computing to medical research

Quantum computing on a screen with a man's had

IBM is teaming up with one of the most prestigious hospitals in the US to bring quantum technology to the field of medical research in order to derive deep insight from complex data at the heart of the biggest health care challenges.

The computing giant has signed a 10-year partnership with the Cleveland Clinic, a world-class nonprofit research hospital. They’re joining forces to use quantum computing to analyze massive amounts of data, intent on making discoveries in fields such as genomics and medications. They’re calling it the Discovery Accelerator.

“Through this innovative collaboration, we have a unique opportunity to bring the future to life,” said Tom Mihaljevic, CEO and president of Cleveland Clinic. “These new computing technologies can help revolutionize discovery in the life sciences. The Discovery Accelerator will enable our renowned teams to build a forward-looking digital infrastructure and help transform medicine, while training the workforce of the future and potentially growing our economy.”

As part of the collaboration, IBM will install a new quantum computer on the Cleveland Clinic’s campus. IBM also plans to install the first of its next-generation 1,000+ qubit quantum systems at a client facility, also to be located in Cleveland, in the coming years.

IBM says quantum computing could have an immense impact on key health care challenges, such as discovering new molecules that can serve as the basis of new pharmaceutical breakthroughs.

IBM keeps hitting quantum computing milestones. The company has built 28 quantum computers in the last four years - eight of them developed in 2020 alone.

The company has successfully doubled its quantum volume for three years running. Quantum volume measures the length and complexity of circuits. The higher the volume, the higher the potential for exploring solutions to real-world problems across industry, government, and research.

The Discovery Accelerator will leverage IBM’s multi-year roadmap for advancing quantum computing, bringing its revolutionary capabilities into the hands of scientists and practitioners in health care and life sciences. In addition to an on-premises quantum system, Cleveland Clinic will also have access to IBM’s fleet of currently more than 20 quantum systems, accessible via the cloud.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has spawned one of the greatest races in the history of scientific discovery – one that demands unprecedented agility and speed,” said Arvind Krishna, chairman and CEO of IBM. “At the same time, science is experiencing a change of its own – with high performance computing, hybrid cloud, data, AI, and quantum computing, being used in new ways to break through long-standing bottlenecks in scientific discovery.”