Quantum healthcare computing coiled for liftoff on US soil

The first quantum computer set up to support healthcare research in the United States has been delivered.

The Cleveland Clinic has bragging rights after considering cloud options and, instead, selecting IBM’s Quantum System One to supply onsite superconductivity.

Superconductivity is a critical element supporting quantum computing. In IBM’s own lay-friendly words, the latter “harnesses the laws of quantum mechanics to solve problems too complex for classical computers.”

The System One machine now awaits installation, go-live and implementation in Cleveland—as well as a queue of principal investigators there who want their turn with massive compute power.

In coverage of the development posted March 20, the technology news outlet SDxCentral notes Cleveland Clinic considers the delivery a key milestone in its multiyear partnership with IBM on their joint Discovery Accelerator.

The academic medical institution says the collaboration is aimed at speeding the pace of lab-to-clinic research translation by using not only quantum computing but also AI and other emerging technologies.

Cleveland Clinic’s chief research information officer, Lara Jehi, MD, tells SDxCentral quantum computing will “help screen and optimize drugs targeted to specific proteins and improve the quantum-enhanced prediction model for cardiovascular risk following non-cardiac surgery.”

The U.S. Department of Energy describes superconductivity as “the property of certain materials to conduct direct current (DC) electricity without energy loss when they are cooled below a critical temperature.”

Cleveland Clinic has the means to provide such cooling in the Lerner Research Institute on its main campus, the outlet points out.

As the institution rolls quantum computing into medical research departments that want it, realized advantages could include optimized clinical trials, algorithm-based scheduling of staff and, potentially, clinical economics “since it is being used by banking and other industries to optimize finances,” Jehi tells SDxCentral.

“Currently, there are numerous scientific inquiries waiting in queues to be used on shared quantum computers via the cloud,” she adds. “By having our own dedicated on-premises system, our researchers’ experiments take priority and, if successful, we get answers more quickly.”

IBM says the Quantum System One at Cleveland Clinic is the first onsite, IBM-managed quantum computer delivered to the private sector in the United States.

Dave Pearson

Dave P. has worked in journalism, marketing and public relations for more than 30 years, frequently concentrating on hospitals, healthcare technology and Catholic communications. He has also specialized in fundraising communications, ghostwriting for CEOs of local, national and global charities, nonprofits and foundations.

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