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Cleveland Clinic, IBM installing first quantum computer in healthcare

by John R. Fischer, Senior Reporter | October 20, 2022
Artificial Intelligence Health IT
Cleveland Clinic and IBM have started installing the first quantum computer in healthcare, Discovery Accelerator at the Cleveland Clinic's main campus.
Cleveland Clinic and IBM have started the installation of what will be the first quantum computer for healthcare.

Announced in 2021, the joint clinic is named the Cleveland-IBM Discovery Accelerator and will be located at Cleveland Clinic’s main campus. It is part of a 10-year partnership between both organizations and will also be the first private sector onsite, IBM-managed quantum computer in the U.S.

The installation is expected to be completed in early 2023. “We cannot afford to continue to spend a decade or more going from a research idea in a lab to therapies on the market. Quantum offers a future to transform this pace, particularly in drug discovery and machine learning,” said Dr. Lara Jehi, Cleveland Clinic’s chief research information officer, in a statement.

Therapeutics and biomarker research and commercialization takes about 17 years. The Discovery Accelerator will incorporate a generative toolkit and modeling capabilities that utilize AI to bridge knowledge gaps and produce hypotheses to speed this up.

It also includes RXN, a cloud-based application that uses AI and directly controls robotic labs for end-to-end production of new chemical compounds.

Other applications include Deep Search, an AI tool for generating insights from large amounts of structured and unstructured technical literature; and high-performance hybrid cloud computing to “burst” workloads into the cloud and scale up access to resources for researchers.

As the technology foundation, Cleveland Clinic’s Global Center for Pathogen Research and Human Health plans to use Discovery Accelerator’s advanced computation technology to speed up critical treatment and vaccine research for emerging pathogens and virus-related diseases.

Researchers are already using IBM’s quantum computing cloud offering in several collaborative projects, including a study to develop a quantum method for screening and optimizing drugs targeted to specific proteins; improving a prediction model for cardiovascular risk following noncardiac surgery; and using AI to assess genome sequence findings and large drug-target databases for existing pharmaceuticals that can help treat Alzheimer’s and other diseases.

Additionally, both organizations have created an educational curriculum to train students, from high school to professional levels, and certification programs in data science, machine learning and quantum computing to build the workforce needed for future computational research.

IBM will install a more advanced version of its quantum computer at the clinic once it has developed in the next few years.

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