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September 14, 2017

IBM develops quantum computing to benefit complex chemistry

Quantum computing gets a boost as IBM develops new algorithms, but how will it be beneficial to different industries?

By April Slattery

IBM scientists have developed new algorithms to help improve the knowledge of complex chemistry and quantum computing.

Using IBM Q, the tech team successfully applied an efficient algorithm in relation to the number of quantum operations required for stimulation using a six qubits of a seven-qubit quantum processor to address the molecular structure problem for beryllium hydride which is to date the largest molecule simulated on a quantum computer.

IBM develop algorithm to create best quantum computing yet.

As a result of the breakthrough, it could result in effective practical applications across various sectors such as medicine to help develop personalised drugs, material engineering and energy to discover better sustainable energy sources.

Alán Aspuru-Guzik, professor of chemistry and chemical biology at Harvard University. “When quantum computers are able to carry out chemical simulations in a numerically exact way, most likely when we have error correction in place and a large number of logical qubits, the field will be disrupted.

“Exact predictions will result in molecular design that does not need calibration with experiment. This may lead to the discovery of new small-molecule drugs or organic materials.”

Quantum computing uses qubits that enables machines to create numerous computations simultaneously which will allow a quantum computer to excel in processing. According to the journal ‘Nature’, Big Blue said the finding will enhance their understanding of complex chemical reactions and quantum computing.

Due to its extreme power capabilities to solve problems, IBM scientists have given the breakthrough the metric of  ‘Quantum Volume’ which takes into account the number and quality of qubits, connectivity and error rates for each action. The algorithm suits current quantum devices capability, to extract the most computer power to solve problems that are becoming increasingly difficult for classic computers to do.

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As well as helping in the medical and energy sectors, quantum computers have the ability to explore complex optimisation routines in sectors such as transportation, logistics or financial services. Furthermore, quantum computers can help with artificial intelligence on machines, which also relies on optimisation algorithms.

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The model can be replicated on a classic computer, but the approach by researchers have found the finding could be scaled up much further as quantum computing systems become more power, beyond the scope of classic computer.

Dario Gil, Vice President of AI research and IBM Q, IBM Research, said: “We have the potential to use quantum computers to boost our knowledge of natural phenomena in the world.

“Over the next few years, we anticipate IBM Q systems’ capabilities to surpass what today’s conventional computers can do, and start becoming a tool for experts in areas such as chemistry, biology, healthcare and materials science.”


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