Tag Archives: D-Wave

Quantum Computing for the Real World: Ars Technica writes about POLARISqb and D-Wave

Just as the team was returning from some The page on PolarisQB from the Ars Technica website.well-deserved time off for the winter break, we got some fantastic news. The publication Ars Technica, a highly-respected group that reports on cutting-edge developments in the tech world, was set to release an article about POLARISqb and D-Wave, the quantum computer we use in our drug discovery pipeline. We were thrilled to hear that one of the most recognized names in scientific journalism took note of our work. The article's main message, which is by John Timmer, is that while quantum computing is in its infancy, only a few companies today have found a way to use this new technology to solve problems.

Quantum computers are not just an advancement in the evolution of computing, they are an entirely new frontier in computational calculation. As our CEO Dr. Shahar Keinan said in an interview recently, they cannot “provide us a better version of Microsoft word,” but they are particularly good at optimization problems. We use a quantum annealing computer known as Advantage, which was made by the Toronto-based company D-Wave Systems.

POLARISqb computational chemist Dr. Victoria Ingman described how the annealer can empower unprecedented multi-variable optimization, “The quantum annealer is a promising solution for questions concerning large, combinatorial search spaces, and searching chemical space for optimal molecules is a perfect example of this.” By developing a system that samples a chemical space of billions of molecules in a matter of minutes or even seconds, this kind of technology enables a revolution in quantum drug design. Ingman sees a great deal of potential in the POLARISqb Tachyon system, explaining that, “With so many variables that must be considered when defining what an "optimal molecule" is, it is easy to overwhelm a classical computer with the sheer number of iterations needed to perform an exhaustive search. [It is] exciting to add additional efficiency to the field of drug discovery and get better molecules more quickly to help treat diseases that may be too difficult to tackle with conventional methods.”

The whole team is celebrating this landmark publication for our company. POLARISqb chemist Dr. Anna Petroff, says it is “a huge honor to be profiled in Ars Technica by John Timmer. The chemists all rely on this technology for drug development, which is unique to PQB. One of the projects we are currently working on is blocking the activity of a protein that causes a particular neurological disease. In trying to block the protein's movement with a small molecule, we are trying to make a tiny wrench to be thrown into a tiny machine.” This kind of accuracy presents many challenges, as Petroff continued, “What is the best shape the wrench can be? Not only does it have to block the protein, but it needs many favorable qualities that define its effectiveness as a small molecule treatment. The PQB engineering team built the first quantum drug discovery platform that can utilize the D-Wave quantum annealer to search billions of molecules and optimize small molecule leads. To have our methods described in Ars Technica is amazing!”

As we continue to work at the vanguard of computational chemistry to build the first quantum drug design and discovery platform, we look forward to more stories like this one. By combining multiple technologies such as artificial intelligence and Quantum Mechanics/Molecular Mechanics processes with the growing power of quantum computing, we continue to seek to fulfill our mission of helping find treatments, "for all diseases, for all people."

Quantum Cloud Growth and the Future of Computing
Just a few years ago, truly viable and useful quantum computing was the stuff of legends and campfire tales among computer scientists, but development in the last year has led to an explosion of quantum resources available to companies in the cloud. The evolution of the quantum machine has been accelerated by the development of…
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D-Wave Takes Giant Leap in Computing with Advantage

Everyone in computing is familiar with the idea of Moore's Law, that computing power doubles every two years, but quantum computing could be making that premise a bit of an anachronism. Recently growth in the field of quantum computing has been accelerating at a rate that makes this seem like an antiquated adage of a simpler time.

This is especially evident in the news this week that D-Wave systems have released the first quantum computer designed to be used in commercial applications, The Advantage. The Advantage features 5000 connected qubits, a number that Frederic Lardinois from TechCrunch notes is over 2.5 times as large as their previous offering of 2000 connected qubits. This larger hardware is able to interconnect 15 interconnections simultaneously versus utilizing 6 interconnections in previous iterations.

These changes create a massive explosion in the computing power offered by the Advantage computer, giving it the ability to handle up to 1 million independent variables. Using their advanced Pegasus chip to link qubits, the computer is able to natively solve problems with between 600-800 variables, providing for a wide variety of commercial applications. As D-Wave CEO Alan Baratz told Emil Protalinski of Venture Beat, "There is no other quantum computer anywhere in the world that can solve problems at the scale and complexity that this quantum computer can solve problems. It really is the only one that you can run real business applications on. The other quantum computers are primarily prototypes. You can do experimentation, run small proofs of concept, but none of them can support applications at the scale that we can.

Putting computing power like this in the hands of innovators, researchers, and companies that are seeking to solve previously unsolvable problems is tremendously empowering. POLARISqb will have the ability to utilize platforms like the Advantage to power chemical and molecular searches on a scale that was previously unfathomable in the industry, optimizing the pace of drug discovery in ways never seen in the biotech and pharmaceutical industries. With the pace of innovation in the world of quantum expected to continue and accelerate, it is our goal to make molecular analysis and protein targeting faster than ever before, developing the ability to provide treatments and cures for all diseases and all people.