D-Wave Systems opened up free cloud access to its quantum computing resources for researchers responding to COVID-19. They're also enlisting their staff, partners, and customers to help others get up to speed on programming quantum computing for their specific tasks. By taking advantage of quantum weirdness – the ability of quantum bits (qubits) to exist in both a "one" and a "zero" state at the same time – these systems can potentially solve problems that cripple even the fastest of today's supercomputers. From IEEE Spectrum:
Since 2018, D-Wave has offered remote access to quantum computing via its "Leap" quantum cloud computing service. Baratz says an ecosystem of more than 1,000 developers has sprung up to apply Leap's quantum computing resources to a variety of purposes, including protein folding and financial modeling, and optimizing public transportation routes in Lisbon, Portugal.
Then, in February, D-Wave began offering an enhanced quantum computing cloud service (Leap 2) which couples simulated qubits (on a conventional computer) with D-Wave's actual qubits.
"We've seen problems being explored in the following areas: 1) the modeling and simulation of the spread of the virus, 2) the scheduling of nurses and other hospital resources, 3) assessing the rate of virus mutation, and 4) the assessment of existing drugs as potential treatments," Baratz said. "We've heard positive feedback from organizations and developers around the world and are looking forward to their collaboration with our global partners to find potential solutions to COVID-19."