Cleveland Clinic, IBM install first health care quantum computer
Cleveland Clinic on Monday unveiled a quantum computer dedicated to health care research at its Cleveland campus. It's the first such onsite private sector IBM-managed quantum computer in the country, the hospital said in a media release.
The unveiling is the latest development in the Discovery Accelerator partnership between the Clinic and IBM originally announced in 2021. That partnership is focused on advancing the pace of biomedical research through high-performance computing, artificial intelligence and quantum computing, according to the Clinic.
Researchers’ ability to use quantum computing is a giant step into the future of health care innovation, said Cleveland Clinic’s Chief Research and Academic Officer Dr. Serpil Erzurum, during an unveiling Monday evening.
“People talk about the coast, but most innovations are from the middle of America, and I think the Cleveland Clinic is a good example of how we've been innovating for over a hundred years," she said. "This means Ohio will be the heartland for digital advances in science and computing.”
Quantum computing is an emerging technology that uses the laws of quantum mechanics to solve problems too complex for most computers, according to IBM. For example, quantum computing can handle more data than existing supercomputers, which has the potential to help researchers identify new medicines and treatments faster than they otherwise would.
The hope is to use the computer to discover a new drug therapy, test it and then get it into human trials within three years as opposed to 10 to 17 years, hospital officials said.
The technology will also be used to develop drugs targeted to specific proteins, improve prediction models and search genome sequencing findings, the Clinic said.
The computer may eliminate the lengthy trial and error that currently takes up so much of researchers’ time, said IBM’s Director of Research Dario Gil.
“Instead of having to create each molecule by hand, one by one, you can use computers to calculate what they would look like, how they would behave," he said. "What ultimately that does is it accelerates how quickly you can find the right answer.”
The Cleveland Clinic-IBM 10-year partnership uses IBM’s latest advancements in computing technology, including quantum computing, hybrid cloud and artificial intelligence. It will be based at The Clinic’s Global Center for Pathogen & Human Health Research, part of the Cleveland Innovation District.
The technology could also lead to job growth and world-renowned innovation in Northeast Ohio, Gil said.
“I think today is a historical day because there's a partnership between the Cleveland Clinic and IBM [that] is being accelerated and turbocharged by installing the most advanced quantum computer that we've ever allowed to leave IBM, and it’s here in Cleveland,” he said, adding researchers around the world may soon flock to Cleveland to use the technology for biomedical discoveries.
IBM chose the Clinic to house the quantum computer because of its track record of innovation, said Gil.