(IT.Pro.Portal) Many are beginning to question whether quantum computing could have helped to better prepare us all for a global pandemic such as the Covid-19 crisis. Governments, organisations and the public are continuing the quest for answers about when this crisis will end and how we can find a way out of the current state of lockdown, and we are all continuing to learn through incremental and experimental steps. It certainly seems plausible that the high compute simulation capabilities of our most revolutionary technology could hold some of the answers and enable us to respond in a more coherent and impactful way.
In the battle against Covid-19, the US Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) is already using quantum supercomputers in its search for drug compounds that can treat the disease. IBM has also been using quantum supercomputers to run simulations on thousands of compounds to try and identify which of them is most likely to attach to the spike that Covid-19 uses to inject genetic material into healthy cells, and thereby prevent it. It has already emerged with 77 promising drugs that are worth further investigation and development – progress that would have taken years if traditional computing power had been used.
It will be easier to overcome barriers, and enable more organisations to start getting to work with quantum computing, if they open themselves up to collaboration with partners, rather than trying to go it alone. Instead of locking away their secrets, businesses must be willing to work within an open quantum computing ecosystem; finding mutually beneficial partnerships will make it much more realistic to drive things forward.