IBM has installed some of its own Quantum System One machines around the world in the past few years. Today, IBM announced its first US private sector deployment thanks to a new ten year partnership with the Cleveland Clinic. Not only is this IBM’s first US installation of one of its quantum computers outside of its own facilities, but it’s also the first time a health institute has bought and hosted a quantum computer. This agreement also gives Cleveland access to the upcoming next-generation 1,000 qubit quantum system from IBM.
We are still in the early stages of commercializing quantum computers, and for most current users, access to a system via the cloud is sufficient for the experiments they are performing. Increasingly, however, we are seeing research institutes and even some commercial users wanting to install local quantum computers to get full access to a dedicated machine.
This new contract is part of a larger partnership between IBM and the Cleveland Clinic, which includes IBM’s hybrid cloud portfolio of high-performance computing and its AI tools. The partnership also forms the basis for the Cleveland Clinic’s new Center for Pathogen Research and Human Health, backed by investments from the State of Ohio, Jobs Ohio and $ 500 million Cleveland Clinic.
“What we are announcing here is the first – I’ll refer to it as the private sector or not for profit – but it is still the first type of NGO that will not only have fully dedicated systems, but what is really remarkable is our decades of commitment “Said Dario Gil, IBM SVP and Director of IBM Research. “In a way, they work with us on the whole roadmap. So it’s not just about taking receipts and gaining access to a fleet of quantum computers and the next-generation quantum computer for the next year. You are also the first to log in and say, “I want the first 1000 qubit system.”
He noted that it takes a very future-oriented organization to invest heavily in quantum computers today. It’s one thing for a nation-state to work with this emerging technology, given the potential it has in a myriad of fields, but it’s another thing for a nonprofit to make a similar bet. “The ambition is really very, very high because you think about the future,” said Gil of the Cleveland Clinic’s director.
Gil noted that as part of the overall deal, Cleveland Clinic researchers will also have access to IBM’s entire quantum portfolio in the cloud. IBM will maintain and support the local quantum computer, and they will remain IBM-owned machines, similar to contracts with government research laboratories in Japan and Germany, he said.
“Maintaining and supporting it is really important,” Gil said of why that is. “And for this they need us and our specialist knowledge. And we do it because it’s one of the most sensitive technologies we have in IBM. That is why we focus particularly on the safety of the machines. “
As part of the overall deal, IBM and Cleveland Clinic will also work to improve the skills of the Cleveland Clinic researchers in quantum computing, as well as AI and high-performance computing.
“This innovative collaboration gives us a unique opportunity to bring the future to life,” said Dr. Tom Mihaljevic, President and CEO of Cleveland Clinic. “These new computing technologies will revolutionize discovery in the life sciences and ultimately improve people’s lives. With the Discovery Accelerator, our renowned teams can build a future-oriented digital infrastructure and transform medicine. At the same time, the employees of the future are being trained and our economy is growing. “