Cleveland Clinic, IBM trailblaze quantum computing in healthcare

Global healthcare system Cleveland Clinic and IBM have begun deployment of an IBM Quantum System to be located on Cleveland Clinic’s main campus in Cleveland.

The first quantum computer in healthcare, expected to be completed in early 2023, is a key part of the two organizations’ 10-year partnership, which aims to fundamentally advance the pace of biomedical research through high-performance computing. Announced in 2021, the Cleveland Clinic-IBM Discovery Accelerator is a joint hub that leverages Cleveland Clinic’s medical expertise with IBM’s technology expertise.

“The current pace of scientific discovery is unacceptably slow, while our research needs are growing exponentially,” says Dr. Lara Jehi, Cleveland Clinic’s Chief Research Information Officer. “We cannot afford to spend a decade or more going from a research idea in a lab to therapies on the market. Quantum offers a future to change that pace, particularly in drug discovery and machine learning.”

dr Ruoyi Zhou, director of the IBM Research/Cleveland Clinic partnership, comments: “A fundamental shift in the way we solve scientific problems is on the horizon. At IBM, we are more motivated than ever to create enduring research communities with the Cleveland Clinic and others, and harness the power of quantum computing, AI and hybrid cloud to usher in a new era of accelerated discovery in healthcare and life sciences.”

The Discovery Accelerator at Cleveland Clinic draws on a variety of IBM technologies for high computing, including:

  • Generative Toolkit for Scientific Discovery and other generative modeling capabilities that leverage AI to fill knowledge gaps and generate hypotheses, ultimately aiming to accelerate the research process in therapeutics and biomarker discovery;
  • RXN, a cloud-based platform that combines AI models and the ability to directly control robotic labs to enable end-to-end design and synthesis of new chemical compounds;
  • Deep Search, a next-generation AI tool for generating insights from large volumes of structured and unstructured literature; and
  • High-performance hybrid cloud computing technologies that enable researchers to “offload” their workloads to the cloud and access the resources they need at scale.

The Discovery Accelerator also serves as the technology foundation for Cleveland Clinic’s Global Center for Pathogen Research & Human Health, part of the Cleveland Innovation District. The center, supported by a $500 million investment from Ohio State, Jobs Ohio and the Cleveland Clinic, brings together a team focused on screening, preparing for and protecting against emerging pathogens and viral diseases.

Through Discovery Accelerator, researchers use advanced computing technology to accelerate important research into treatments and vaccines.

Together, the teams have already started several cooperation projects that benefit from the new computing power. The Discovery Accelerator projects include a research study to develop a quantum computing method to screen and optimize drugs that target specific proteins; Improving a predictive model for cardiovascular risk after non-cardiac surgery; and using artificial intelligence to search genome sequencing findings and large databases of drug targets to find effective, existing drugs that could help patients with Alzheimer’s and other diseases.

A significant part of the collaboration focuses on training the workforce of the future and creating jobs to boost the economy. Designed for high school through professional-level participants, an innovative curriculum offers training and certification programs in data science, machine learning and quantum computing to build the skilled workforce needed for the cutting-edge computing research of the future.

Featured image: Drs. Lara Jehi and Ruoyi Zhou