Could Quantum Computing Stem a Wuhan Coronavirus Pandemic?

Wuhan Coronavirus chart. Could quantum computing be used to stem a pandemic?

Above is a view taken January 26, 2020, of the live Wuhan Coronavirus Pandemic chart put together by Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Systems Science and Engineering team.  [Updated and best viewed at the source by clicking the image or this text.]

During a long drive to Battelle Memorial Research Institute, in Columbus, Ohio, we tried to listen the various TED talks covering quantum computing.  There is only so much quantum supremacy and superposition discussion one could listen to in an afternoon.  From the streamcast, the concept of quantum computing applications pertaining to healthcare came and went.  Our conversations wandered to the Wuhan Coronavirus.  Then back to quantum computing and the optimization problems piping through to us.

The thought occurred – Could quantum computing stem a Wuhan Coronavirus pandemic? 

Given the ever-increasing discussion and activity for quantum computing to solve traffic congestion and airline scheduling, to name two optimization applications, could the Chinese government tweak quantum algorithms to model the spread of this deadly disease?  Is it possible, in quantum computing’s nascent state, to predict the virus’ spread throughout a population and to use these predictions to aid in preventing further deaths or a pandemic? 

Recent reports have the Communist Government of China quarantining millions due to the uncertainty of where the virus may spread.  With a lagging economy brought on by its own voracious ambitions, only now suffering blowback by the U.S. under a strong President, one could speculate the last issue China would want is a devastating virus to further complicate its economy. 

From the studies of quantum computing we have been reviewing, digesting, and bringing to the forefront, our thought is the modeling of such a pandemic to curtail its extent is probable.  We say “probable”, as we are fairly certain true quantum computing is incapable of such a task at this point.  If quantum computing modeling of a pandemic were possible, one would think it is already underway.  Perhaps the modeling has been started somewhere, in some far-off lab, maybe near the same lab where the Wuhan Coronavirus is purported to have started. 

Because Quantum is Coming.  Qubit.