Accelerated Discovery

Discovery Accelerator: A landmark partnership between Cleveland Clinic and IBM Research

Share this post:

Discovery is a driving force of science and society — especially in life sciences and healthcare. Over the next few years, a convergence of high performance hybrid cloud computing, next generation AI, quantum computing, and new platform and data technologies in the IBM hybrid cloud to accelerate discovery by supercharging the scientific method.

Yesterday, we announced a planned 10-year partnership that will deploy these emerging technologies and capabilities to advance life sciences and healthcare: The Discovery Accelerator at Cleveland Clinic. The collaborative engagement to enable Cleveland Clinic researchers, partners, and the broader community aimed to advance pathogen research and treatment, and foster the next generation technology workforce for healthcare.

Together with IBM’s strength in high performance computing, AI, and quantum computing technologies and Cleveland Clinic’s expertise in healthcare research, this collaboration aims to transform and accelerate how we do research and the process of scientific discovery. This furthers the tradition of Cleveland Clinic’s 100-year history of clinical innovation into the future.

IBM planned commitment to Cleveland Clinic, through the Discovery Accelerator, include advanced production and emerging infrastructure, platform capabilities, and application tools in the hybrid cloud. A flagship of the Discovery Accelerator at Cleveland Clinic is the planned installation of IBM Quantum systems, beginning with the first private-sector on-premises installation of IBM Quantum System One at Cleveland Clinic on its main campus in Cleveland, Ohio following the first international deployments of System One at IBM data centers in Germany and Japan announced last year. In the coming years, the partnership plans to deploy the world’s first installation of a dedicated next-generation 1,000+ qubit IBM Quantum system in Cleveland.

IBM Quantum System One

IBM Quantum System One

Deployment of an IBM quantum system will be one of many new ways Cleveland Clinic plans to utilize advanced technology within the Lerner Research Institute, enabling more than 1,500 researchers across four major areas of focus: heart, lung and vascular diseases, cancer research, neurological and eye diseases and inflammation research (such as transplant immunology and IBD).

In the coming years, quantum computing promises to streamline information searches, aid researchers in drug discovery and potentially lead to improved personalized medicine. Quantum computing is also envisioned to provide highly accurate simulations of complex molecular systems. This can empower researchers studying the development of new materials and treatments. The collaboration is anticipated to build a robust research and clinical infrastructure to enable big data-based medical research, in ethical, privacy preserving ways, discoveries for patient care and novel approaches to public health threats such as the COVID-19 pandemic.

High performance computing for the Discovery Accelerator

In the nearer term, the Discovery Accelerator can provide benefits from high performance computing, combining on-premises infrastructure with production and emerging cloud infrastructure and platform capabilities. It is also provide access to a broad set of emerging AI tools for discovery in life sciences. These include RXN, a cloud-based platform that combines AI models and the ability to directly control robotic labs to enable end-to-end design and synthesis of new chemical compounds; the IBM Functional Genomics Platform, a cloud-based repository and research tool for studying microbial life with use cases in research of host-microbe interactions, pathogen functional characterization, antimicrobial resistance, gene editing, and the microbiome, and includes the world’s largest and highest quality reference microbial database; Deep Search, a next-generation AI tool for generating insight from large amounts of structured and unstructured technical literature; and generative modeling capabilities, a type of AI that can be used to infer knowledge gaps and generate hypotheses to augment human reasoning and drive the scientific method.

As computational power increases and the scale of the cloud is fully realized, Cleveland Clinic will use their genetic and pathogen research findings, coupled with the phenotypic data within their electronic health records to recognize the reality of true precision medicine with the ultimate goal of real N of 1 treatments.

A community of discovery

Beyond research, the partnership is anticipated to cultivate and enable a new community of discovery led by Cleveland Clinic to help drive rapid advancements in pathogen research and treatment. IBM plans to collaborate with Cleveland Clinic researchers, and support engagement with a broad ecosystem of partners in industry, universities, government, and startups. Additionally, IBM and Cleveland Clinic will train the workforce of the future in data science and quantum computing in Ohio through engagement with universities, high schools, and government.

Cleveland Clinic’s Global Center for Pathogen Research & Human Health and the Discovery Accelerator puts Cleveland Clinic at the forefront of research and innovation into pathogens.


Statements regarding IBM’s future direction and intent are subject to change or withdrawal without notice and represent goals and objectives only.


Inventing What’s Next.

Stay up to date with the latest announcements, research, and events from IBM Research through our newsletter.


Director of Accelerated Discovery Business Incubation, IBM Research

Matthew Kull

Chief Information Officer at Cleveland Clinic

More Accelerated Discovery stories

IBM RXN for Chemistry: Automatically cleaning chemical reaction datasets

In our latest paper, “Unassisted Noise Reduction of Chemical Reaction Data Sets” in Nature Machine Intelligence, we explore the application of NLP techniques to automate the identification of “language outliers” or the noise in chemical datasets.

Continue reading

Climate change: IBM boosts materials discovery to improve carbon capture, separation and storage

Our team has turned to AI to accelerate the design and discovery of better polymer membranes to efficiently separate carbon dioxide from flue gases — the results that we will present at the upcoming 2021 Meeting of the American Physical Society.

Continue reading

IBM AI finds new peptides – paving the way to better drug design

Paving the way to the era of Accelerated Discovery, our IBM Research team has developed an AI system that can help speed up the design of molecules for novel antibiotics. In a recent Nature Biomedical Engineering paper, we outline how we used it to create two new non-toxic antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) with strong broad-spectrum potency. Our approach outperforms other leading de novo AMP design methods by nearly 10 percent.

Continue reading