Quantum Computing, Artificial Intelligence, & Machine Learning for Drug Discovery

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Dr. Shahar Keinan, Co-founder & CEO of POLARIS Quantum Biotech, joined me to explore quantum computing and AI for drug discovery, the Quantum Molecular Design process, how POLARISqb is working to improve precision medicine and find cures for all known diseases, plus much more.

Here is a sneak peek of our conversation:

Q: Tell us how you ever got involved with the quantum computing piece of it. Why is it important in molecular designing and how is it playing out in the platform that you’re using at Polaris?

A: When we decided that we wanted to build a new company Polaris, we realized that what we wanted to do is to do these things at scale, to be able to look at multiple problems, to be able to solve multiple problems fast and very efficient but also with high accuracy. Then we said, “Okay, which parts of this process can we solve today and which parts have the technology but we still need to develop to solve today?” That’s when we said, “Okay, what can we do now?” We did some research and at some point, we got connected to the Fujitsu Digital Annealer team that showed that technology and the possibilities of that technology.

Quantum computing is becoming accessible. I think some parts of it are still 2-3 years away but the part of the technology that we’re using is available today. There are some problems that you can solve that you couldn’t solve in any other way and that’s what we are doing. We are using currently available technology to solve problems but we are also getting ready for when other parts of quantum computing technology come in and will start being relevant.

There are two kinds of quantum computers and I’m sure now, everybody in the quantum computing tech industry is just starting to shout, “No, no, no! There are way more!” But, I look at this from a user perspective. For me, I have a problem to solve, I wanted to design drugs, this is what I want to do. I want to design novel drugs fast, efficiently, and accurately. In order to do that, I need a certain technology.

In that case, quantum computing technology is divided into two things: Gate Computers, which are the computers of IBM, Rigetti, and Honeywell. They are still being developed and are still too small to answer my questions. On the other hand, you can see D-wave or Fujitsu. There are other companies that are doing quantum annealers and that are solving optimization problems and solving that optimization problem can be done today on really large problems. Thousands of cubics can be used here and are being employed, and this is the technology that we are using.

For more of our discussion, you can watch the whole Fireside Chat with Dr. Shahar Keinan, or listen to the podcast version, below.

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