Cleveland Clinic And IBM Launch World’s First Quantum Computer Dedicated To Healthcare Research And Biomedical Discoveries


IBM and Cleveland Clinic established the Discovery Accelerator center two years ago as part of a ten-year collaborative research partnership. The center is focused on accelerating research in healthcare and life sciences using IBM’s quantum computing technologies, high-performance computing, hybrid cloud, and artificial intelligence.

Today, the IBM-Cleveland Clinic Discovery Accelerator unveiled one of the partnership’s technology centerpieces—an IBM Quantum System One computer.

The unveiling of IBM’s quantum computer on the Cleveland Clinic campus was attended by key management from IBM and Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland mayor Justin Bibb, Ohio lieutenant governor Jon Husted and Shontel Brown, member of Congress for Ohio’s 11th District.

Cutting-edge technologies for innovative healthcare research

IBM aims to help Cleveland Clinic advance its biomedical research using advanced technologies. Over the next few years, partnership research is expected to be enhanced by the convergence of high-performance technologies such as IBM’s hybrid cloud, next generation AI, high-performance computing and quantum computing.

In addition to a focus on advanced technology, the event also chalked up multiple firsts for both quantum computing and the Discovery Accelerator partnership:

  • The Cleveland Clinic IBM Quantum System One is the first on-site, private IBM quantum computer installed in the United States;
  • The Discovery Accelerator is the first quantum computer in the world dedicated to healthcare research.

Research results by Discovery Accelerator scientists will create scientific recognition for the city of Cleveland and provide technology support for Cleveland Clinic’s Global Center for Pathogen & Human Health Research. The establishment of this center was also part of the initial Discovery Accelerator announcement made in 2021.

Both projects are beneficiaries of the Cleveland Innovation District, which consists of Cleveland Clinic, MetroHealth System, University Hospitals, Case Western Reserve University, and Cleveland State University, all working together on research and cooperating to create more jobs in the Cleveland area. The Innovation District also aims to establish Cleveland’s reputation as a medical science hub.

The effort is supported by $500 million in funding from the State of Ohio, Jobs Ohio, and Cleveland Clinic. It appears to be a good investment of public funds, because the Innovation District estimates that Cleveland Clinic will create 1,000 new jobs by 2029 and another 7,500 jobs in the state by 2034.

Fast-start research with advanced technologies

To augment Cleveland Clinic’s existing programs and expertise, Discovery Accelerator is building a team of world-class immunology, cancer, and infectious disease experts to research emerging pathogens and virus-related diseases. These researchers will use advanced computational techniques to generate and analyze large datasets to improve research in genomics, population health, clinical applications, and drug discovery.

The IBM-Cleveland Clinic Discovery Accelerator team has already begun collaborating on several biomedical research projects using quantum computing, AI, and hybrid cloud. Here is a sample of research in progress:

  • Development of quantum computing pipelines to screen and optimize drugs targeted to specific proteins;
  • Creating an improved quantum-enhanced prediction model for cardiovascular risk following non-cardiac surgery; and,
  • Application of artificial intelligence to search genome sequencing in large drug-target databases to determine if any existing drugs could help patients with Alzheimer’s or other diseases.

IBM technologies available to Discovery Accelerator partnership

1. IBM quantum

IBM has 20-plus quantum systems deployed worldwide based on System One. IBM’s quantum user base of over 450,000 users has run over 2 trillion quantum circuits.

The IBM Quantum System One supports three processors: the 27-qubit Falcon, the 65-qubit Hummingbird, and the 127-qubit Eagle. The 127-qubit model was installed on the Cleveland Clinic campus. In the future, it is planned to install the IBM System Two when it becomes available.

IBM’s quantum architecture includes co-located classical systems and Qiskit Runtime to run quantum circuits at optimum speed. IBM incorporates dynamic circuits to reduce circuit depth and provide higher fidelity. Soon error mitigation will be available to manage noise until error correction becomes a reality.


IBM has a wealth of AI experience to share with the partnership. Of particular interest to the Discovery Accelerator team is IBM’s use of AI to speed up antimicrobial and drug design. IBM has used artificial intelligence to reduce drug development cycles from several years to less than two months. According to Cleveland Clinic, it typically takes about 17 years for a scientific discovery in a research lab to become an approved test or therapy for patients. Successful research and acceleration in this area by Cleveland Clinic will benefit the entire world.

Additionally, IBM is using generative AI to design innovative drug compounds that boost unique features and elevate the efficacy of existing drugs. IBM researchers have also used AI to create valuable tools, such as MolFormer and MolGPT, for predicting the properties of chemical molecules. The tool is important in various fields, including drug discovery and material design. IBM’s experience in these areas will significantly benefit future Discovery Accelerator research.

3. IBM AI supercomputer

It was recently revealed that IBM designed and constructed its own cloud-based AI supercomputer in May 2022. IBM chose to do this because of its extensive work with building foundation models and working with generative AI. Although it was primarily designed to run and train models used for internal business processes, it is also being used for some customer applications. Given the unique partner relationship, it could possibly be used with Discovery Accelerator research projects.

4. IBM Hybrid Cloud

IBM Hybrid cloud integrates public and private cloud services and on-premises infrastructure. It provides orchestration, management, and application portability across all three services. Discovery Accelerator researchers will have a single, unified, and flexible distributed computing environment to run and scale traditional or cloud-native workloads using the most appropriate computing model.

Wrapping up

Cleveland Clinic is a world-class healthcare organization with over 72,000 employees worldwide. The IBM Quantum System One is installed on the 173-acre Cleveland Clinic campus near downtown Cleveland, which is also the site of its 6,500-bed health system.

The Discovery Accelerator’s combination of a global technology power like IBM with deep AI and quantum expertise, matched with a healthcare research giant like Cleveland Clinic, is almost certain to produce invaluable research that has the potential to benefit patients worldwide.

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