Study Finds Quantum Computing May Radically Alter Life Sciences

RAND reports quantum hardware needs further development for success
John Potter

November 10, 2022

Rand's report details the increasing use of quantum computers and simulators in life sciences.Getty

Research institute RAND Europe has conducted a comprehensive review of key trends, challenges and opportunities associated with quantum computing in the life sciences field. The resulting report, “

Applying quantum technologies to the life sciences

”, explores how quantum-related applications might impact the life sciences, particularly quantum electronics, quantum algorithms, quantum software, quantum materials and qubit engineering.   

The research analyzes qualitative and quantitative evidence and incorporates interviews with experts and a detailed literature review. It also includes a comprehensive scientific analysis of global quantum computer and simulator research.

The study showcases the extent to which public and private investment in quantum computing have increased. It also details how the technology behind quantum computing hardware and software continues to diversify. A review of published articles about quantum computing collaborates with these findings.

The report also details

the increasing use of quantum computers and simulators in the life sciences, whether in drug discovery, genetics, or quantum chemistry. While many of these applications remain in the proof-of-concept stage, start-up companies are accelerating their development.  

RAND notes that the advent of quantum computing may radically alter the life sciences field. While this technology presents the industry with myriad opportunities, it also brings several challenges. 

For instance, quantum hardware requires further development if certain life science use cases are to succeed. From an investment viewpoint, uncertainty still exists about what type of business impact quantum computing will have. Specific regulatory and compliance requirements will present the field with additional challenges. Even creating a skilled workforce to achieve these goals will be a challenge.

The study urges the life sciences field to take proactive action toward these challenges. Suggestions revolve around developing a quantum-ready workforce, creating institutional partnerships, incentivizing private investment, and participating in national and international quantum initiatives. RAND concludes by suggesting stakeholders should be urged to be patient about the technology’s development and application. 

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