November 22, 2022 – The sixties are marked Computer access to medicine. Plastic and metal blocks are expensive which can (maybe) get test results to the doctor faster. The 1980s saw the first real difference-making jobs that computers can provide—clinical, financial, and administrative—and in 1991, the Institute of Medicine published the first manifesto on what electronic health records can be (and could be).
Since then, we’ve seen computer breakthroughs in all areas of medicine, with artificial intelligence, virtual reality, and telemedicine standing out. But there’s something else that not many people know about yet: quantum computing, an entirely new kind of computing that’s already beginning to advance everything from drug development and disease identification to the security of electronic records.
“Think of it as the transition from getting light through fire and candles and now getting electricity, and there’s a light bulb that lights everything up,” says Lara Gehi, MD, director of research information at the Cleveland Clinic.
What is quantum computing?
classic computers (also known as binary computers), which are the basis for today’s hardware, including artificial intelligence and machine learning, operate using information known as bits. Shown as 0 or 1 (sometimes defined as off/on or false/true).
On the other hand, quantum computers use quantum bits known as qubits. And yes, the definition of “quantum”—as in: very, very small—applies.
International Business Machines, more commonly known as IBM, is currently leading this new technology. A common misconception about quantum computers is that they are “the next evolution of computers that will go faster,” says Frederick Fluther, Ph.D., life and healthcare sciences at IBM Quantum Industry Consulting. Instead, he wants us to see quantum computing as something completely new “because it’s basically a different hardware, a different software, not just an evolution of the same thing.”
How do they work differently from existing computers? Quantum computing deals in nature. Therefore, qubits must be based on the natural world. what does that mean? Nobel Prize-winning physicist Richard Feynman was quoted as saying, “Nature isn’t classical, damn it, and if you want to make a simulation of nature, you’d better make it quantum mechanical, which is a cool problem, because it doesn’t look easy.”
Nature doesn’t work in black and white, Gihe says, and it doesn’t fit in boxes.
“We have to convert it to zeros and ones because that’s what computers are talking about,” she explains. But quantum computing uses the principles of quantum mechanics. “It’s exactly the way nature works, because it’s based on the basic unit of everything in nature, which is the atomic structure.”
Really very small indeed. This is why quantum computing could be a game-changer in medicine.
says Tony Utley, president and chief operating officer, Inc QuantinumA collaboration between Cambridge Quantum and Honeywell Quantum Solutions that is driving the future of quantum computing. “And the reason for that is because of some of the wonderful properties of quantum physics.”
Creating a bridgehead for quantum computing
Scientists around the world are studying quantum computers and researching how to harness this technology to make some big inroads in the world of medicine.
IBM created the IBM Quantum Network and partnered with various organizations, from startups to Fortune 500 companies, to develop and test the technology in various settings. One such partnership is set to be with the Cleveland Clinic to establish a “Discovery Accelerator” focused on advancing healthcare through hybrid cloud high-performance computing, quantum computing technologies, and artificial intelligence.
Many people across the country are now using this technology on their existing computers by taking advantage of the cloud, but with limited access in qubits. IBM has researchers in places like Germany and Japan working on quantum computers and will install IBM’s first next-generation quantum system over 1,000 qubits on the Cleveland Clinic campus, which they plan to use to help further investigate several anticipated quantum computing. Benefits.
But what are those benefits?
Drug discovery and development
Quantum chemistry is one of the main areas that quantum computing is poised to help.
“The immediate application of this would be in drug discovery,” says Gehi. When scientists make medicines, they sit in a lab and develop different chemical formulas for what that medicine might make up.
“But to really know if it’s going to work, we need to be able to imagine how that chemical combination would translate into a structure,” she says.
Even in their most powerful form, today’s supercomputers are slow in their ability to change that chemical formula on paper into a simulation of what a chemical compound would look like. And in many cases, they can’t do this kind of analysis.
“So, we end up making drugs without knowing exactly what they’re going to look like, which isn’t really the best way to create a drug that you expect to work,” Gehe explains. “It’s a waste of time creating compounds that won’t have any effect.”
Quantum computers will allow researchers to create and see these molecular structures and see how they relate to and interact with the human body. In fact, they will know if a potential drug will work before they have to make it physically.
As it differs from classical computing, quantum computers are not limited in their ability to simulate how different compounds might appear. The ability to mimic the compounds that drugs make could lead to faster drug discovery to treat a wide range of conditions.
Ultimately, this technology could help analyze disease, working at the molecular level to allow computers/AIs to think about, for example, cancer molecules and gain a deeper understanding of how they work.
Gehe says quantum computing can also be used to study things like chronic diseases. These are conditions that people have to live with and manage, and how a person feels in this situation can vary from day to day, based on things like what the person eats, the weather, or the medications they take.
“There are a lot of different possibilities for what could change a patient’s trajectory one way versus another,” Gehi says.
She stresses that if we had a group of patients, and we recorded everything that happened to them during their disease journey, it would be very difficult to simulate what that group looked like, and then study the effects of these different interventions on them using traditional medicine. computing.
“It gets very complicated, and our computers can’t keep up with analyzing the effects of different possibilities. Jehi says:
But quantum computing can introduce quantum machine learning, which means you use this special quantum ability to manipulate different simulations and different possibilities.
The Cleveland Clinic, for example, is looking at how some patients who have had general surgeries develop heart complications after their procedures.
“It would be transformative if we could identify the people who are most at risk of a heart attack after surgery, so we can take better care of those people,” she says.
The clinic’s current dataset includes records for 450,000 patients, and the current AI/ML makes sifting through this very slow and complex. Clinic uses machine learning methods to create a synthetic data set, a smaller set that is an exact replica of a much larger set. Quantum technology can improve and speed up this analysis to produce better performing models.
“Imagine you’re getting a CT scan,” Utley says. “There are already AI solutions out there that you can run through a collection of images and ask, ‘Does this look like something that might be cancer?'” “This current technology, he explains, works well on objects that are typical and identified before, because that’s how machine learning works. If an AI watches something 100,000 times, it can often find something else that looks like it.”
But today’s classic computers aren’t equipped to spot something out of the ordinary. “These are where quantum computers can be much better at thinking in pictures and being able to say, ‘I can detect rare cancers or the rare cases where you don’t have a huge library of things that look like this,'” Utley says.
This is also where researchers can use a quantum computer to be able to figure things out could Resembles.
“The beauty of quantum computing is that it makes a bias in quantum physics, that most probabilistic design. And so you can take advantage of that probabilistic design to help them think about this,” Ottley says.
How far are we?
We’re in an emerging era of quantum computing, Utley says. Quantum computers exist and that’s important, but a lot of this technology is still in its fairly early stages.
“It’s a bit like we’re at the beginning of the Internet and saying, ‘How’s it going,'” he explains.
Right now, companies like Quantinuum are trying to run calculations on both a quantum and a classical computer, compare the results, and say, “We get the same answer.”
“This is the era when we can build confidence and say that quantum computers are working properly,” Utley explains.
In the future, he says, we could envision something like a quantum MRI being able to understand your body in a way that transmits that data to a quantum computer for error detection, and the ability to distinguish between cancerous and non-cancerous. -cancerous. This will allow faster treatments and tailor them to specific patient groups.
“What we’re doing today may sound a little less attractive than that, but it’s probably just as important,” Utley says.
This is the use of quantum computers to make the best encryption keys that can be made. The medical community, which is already using quantum computing to implement this, is excited about it being a better way to keep patient data as secure as possible.
In June, Quantinum launched InQuanto, a quantum computing program that allows computational chemists, who, until now, only had classical computers at their fingertips. This step created an opportunity to start thinking about the problems they had worked on and what they would do with a quantum computer. As the performance of quantum computers has increased over the years, Utley says the program will move from tasks like isolating a single molecule to solving larger problems.
“It’s going to happen over the next decade, as I think we’ll see the first kind of real use cases in the next potential two to three years,” he adds. At the moment, this technology is likely to be used in conjunction with classic computers.
Advancements in the quantum realm and medicine will continue to grow at a slow and steady pace, Utley says, and in the coming years, we’ll likely see things start to click and then eventually, that take off “full force.”
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