For this University of Maryland student, studying quantum computing is about changing the future of medicine.

The Coding School
3 min readJan 12, 2022

In the first week of January 2022, Qubit by Qubit hosted its first-ever undergraduate intensive. Over the four-day program, 140 students from 80 universities learned the fundamentals of quantum computing together. One student, Shiraz Robinson II, is inspired to leverage quantum computing to cure diseases and make medicine more equitable. Here is his story.

Shiraz is a 4th-year pre-med student at the University of Maryland

I grew up in an environment where crime and drug activity were considered normal. As a child, I was bullied because I was passionate about STEM. My interest in STEM came from the desire to become a physician, scientist, or astronaut. My father, a first generation college graduate, supported and encouraged my STEM aspirations. I reached a point where I was tired of being bullied, and started to exercise vigorously and play football.

My life changed when I started excelling in football and STEM. I became a straight-A student in my middle school, high school, and undergraduate studies. Of all of the subjects I studied, my true interest lied in quantum. Since high school, I would watch YouTube videos on Albert Einstein and other scientists (like Richard Feynman) who studied quantum mechanics. It sparked my interest in understanding the true nature of reality. Knowing the true nature of reality is to get very comfortable with math, nature, and quantum mechanics.

I am a 2nd generation college student born and raised in Prince George’s County, Maryland. I’m a 4th-year premedical student that studies plant biology and mathematics with a focus on computational & integrative medicine at the University of Maryland, College Park. My goal is to apply quantum computing in the field of computational medicine. In addition, I’m interested in the mathematical modeling of biological systems with differential equations and a variety of mathematical and computational methods.

I aspire to become a black physician-scientist, applied mathematician, and computational scientist who will assist patients affected by the social determinants of health and the quantum phenomena of reality. My spiritual beliefs and intellectual interests were essential for developing my aspirations. I chose to learn quantum computing because I’m very passionate about quantum mechanics. I’m interested in simulating nature accurately and precisely on a computer that leverages the power of quantum mechanics. Quantum computing is essential for solving optimization problems with many options; quantum computing can help us find patterns or a specific optimized value.

I would like to simulate chemical reactions, various proteins, and cellular structures on a quantum computer to understand them at the smallest layers of detail. Quantum simulation can help physicians understand the pharmacological effects of medicines on the human body. I believe the key to eradicating diseases like cancer is to understand the pathology and immunology on a quantum scale, then scale up to the classical human physiological scale and participate in an integrative healthcare system that uses a variety of holistic medicine modalities.

Qubit by Qubit is a nonprofit organization dedicated to training the future diverse quantum workforce. Through courses, workshops, and other strategic programming, we empower middle, high school and undergraduate students to pursue quantum early, and ensure that the future quantum workforce is equitable & diverse.

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