Quantum computer simulates largest molecule yet, sparking hope of future drug discoveries | Science


A quantum computer has simulated beryllium hydride, lithium hydride, and hydrogen molecules (shown left to right), setting a world record.

IBM Research

As molecules go, beryllium hydride is puny—just two hydrogen atoms tacked onto a single beryllium atom. But, for the moment, it’s a heavyweight champ: It’s now the largest molecule ever modeled on a quantum computer, an emerging technology that might someday solve problems that stymie ordinary computers. The advance, though still in the realm of what ordinary computers can do, could provide a stepping stone toward a powerful new way to discover new drugs and materials.

“I think it’s very, very promising,” says Marco De Vivo, a theoretical chemist at the…



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