(SciTechDaily) Quantum machine learning, an emerging field that combines machine learning and quantum physics, is the focus of research to discover possible treatments for COVID-19, according to Penn State researchers led by Swaroop Ghosh, the Joseph R. and Janice M. Monkowski Career Development Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and Engineering. The researchers believe that this method could be faster and more economical than the current methods used for drug discovery.
“Discovering any new drug that can cure a disease is like finding a needle in a haystack,” Ghosh said.
According to Ghosh, using the existing drug-discovery pipeline can take five to ten years from initial idea to market approval, and cost billions of dollars.
“High-performance computing such as supercomputers and artificial intelligence can help accelerate this process by screening billions of chemical compounds quickly to find relevant drug candidates,” he said. “This approach works when enough chemical compounds are available in the pipeline, but unfortunately this is not true for COVID-19. This project will explore quantum machine learning to unlock new capabilities in drug discovery by generating complex compounds quickly.”