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Cleveland Clinic partners with IBM

The collaboration is anticipated to build robust research and clinical infrastructure

Cleveland Clinic and IBM have announced a planned 10-year partnership to establish the Discovery Accelerator, a joint Cleveland Clinic – IBM centre with the mission of fundamentally advancing the pace of discovery in healthcare and life sciences through the use of high-performance computing on the hybrid cloud, artificial intelligence (AI) and quantum computing technologies. 

The collaboration is anticipated to build robust research and clinical infrastructure to empower big data medical research in ethical, privacy-preserving ways, discoveries for patient care and novel approaches to public health threats such as the COVID-19 pandemic. Through the Discovery Accelerator, the researchers plan to use advanced computational techniques to generate and analyse data to help enhance research in the new Global Center for Pathogen Research & Human Health, in areas such as: genomics, single-cell transcriptomics, population health, clinical applications, and chemical and drug discovery.

As part of the collaboration, IBM plans to install its first private sector, on-premises IBM Quantum System One in the US, to be located on Cleveland Clinic’s campus in Cleveland. The company also plans to install the first of IBM’s next-generation 1,000+ qubit quantum systems at a client facility, also to be located in Cleveland, in the coming years. This quantum programme will be designed to actively engage with universities, government, industry, startups and other relevant organisations. It will leverage Cleveland Clinic’s global enterprise to serve as the foundation of a new quantum ecosystem for life sciences, focussed on advancing quantum skills and the mission of the centre.

“Through this innovative collaboration, we have a unique opportunity to bring the future to life,” said Tom Mihaljevic, CEO and President, Cleveland Clinic. “These new computing technologies can help revolutionise discovery in the life sciences. The Discovery Accelerator will enable our renowned teams to build a forward-looking digital infrastructure and help transform medicine while training the workforce of the future and potentially growing our economy.”

“The COVID-19 pandemic has spawned one of the greatest races in the history of scientific discovery – one that demands unprecedented agility and speed,” said Arvind Krishna, Chairman and CEO, IBM. “At the same time, science is experiencing a change of its own – with high-performance computing, hybrid cloud, data, AI, and quantum computing, being used in new ways to break through long-standing bottlenecks in scientific discovery. Our new collaboration with Cleveland Clinic will combine their world-renowned expertise in healthcare and life sciences with IBM’s next-generation technologies to make scientific discovery faster, and the scope of that discovery larger than ever.”

“Quantum will make the impossible possible, and when the Governor and I announced the Cleveland Innovation District earlier this year, this was the kind of innovative investment I hoped it would advance,” said Ohio Lt Governor Jon Husted, Director of InnovateOhio. “A partnership between these two great institutions will put Cleveland, and Ohio, on the map for advanced medical and scientific research, providing a unique opportunity to improve treatment options for patients and solve some of our greatest healthcare challenges.”

The Discovery Accelerator will serve as the technology foundation for Cleveland Clinic’s new Global Center for Pathogen Research & Human Health, announced last month as part of the Cleveland Innovation District. The centre, supported by a $500 million investment from the State of Ohio, Jobs Ohio and Cleveland Clinic, brings together a research team focused on broadening understanding of viral pathogens, virus-induced cancers, genomics, immunology and immunotherapies. It will build upon Cleveland Clinic’s existing programmes and expertise, with newly recruited world leaders in immunology, cancer biology, immune-oncology and infectious disease research as well as technology development and education. Researchers will expand critical work on studying, preparing and protecting against emerging pathogens and virus-related diseases.

The Discovery Accelerator will leverage IBM’s multi-year roadmap for advancing quantum computing, bringing its revolutionary capabilities into the hands of scientists and practitioners in healthcare and life sciences. In addition to an on-premises quantum system, Cleveland Clinic will also have access to IBM’s fleet of currently more than 20 quantum systems, accessible via the cloud. IBM is targeting to unveil its first next-generation 1,000+ qubit quantum system in 2023, and Cleveland Clinic is planned to be the site of the first private-sector on-premises system.

A significant pillar of the programme plans to focus on educating the workforce of the future and creating jobs to grow the economy. The 10-year collaboration plans to include education and workforce development opportunities related to quantum computing.

The innovative educational curriculum will be designed for participants from high school to a professional level and offer training and certification programs in data science and quantum computing, building the skilled workforce needed for cutting-edge data science research of the future. Cleveland Clinic and IBM plan to hold research symposia and workshops with joint sessions by IBM and academic researchers for academia, industry, government and the general public.

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