(DailyMaverick.co.za) Wits University is the first African partner on the IBM Q Network. Wits will act as the gateway through which its own researchers, as well as scholars from South Africa and the 15 universities in the African Research Universities Alliance (ARUA), can gain access to the 20 qubit-IBM Q quantum computer with its advanced quantum computing systems and software for teaching quantum information science and exploring early applications.
One of the most promising applications of quantum computing will be in the area of chemistry. In the South African context, early interest in this field is in HIV drug delivery research. Researchers in molecular and cellular biology at Wits are specifically focusing on understanding the virus’s C-subtype, the most prevalent and frequently transmitted HIV subtype in sub-Saharan Africa that has been suggested to account for greater than 95% of infections in South Africa. Molecules obey the rules of quantum physics, and in order to model a molecule in nature you need instrumentation that behaves and follows the rules of that particular molecule. Researchers are exploring how to use quantum computing to do just that.