Microsoft Quantum helps Case Western Reserve University advance MRI research

Man using HoloLens with MRI imaging

Today I’m thrilled to share a new collaboration between Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) and Microsoft’s Quantum team demonstrating the power of quantum computing. With the goal of improving patient care, Case Western Reserve will use Microsoft’s quantum-inspired algorithms to enhance their approach to detecting cancerous tumors. This scenario is a great example of an organization using quantum technology to solve the real-world challenges of today.

Case Western Reserve has been leading groundbreaking research in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), a space that previously hadn’t drastically changed in decades. To improve accuracy of MRI results in less time, Case Western introduced an approach called magnetic resonance fingerprinting. Where typical MRI machines use a series of fixed acquisitions to establish a diagnosis, magnetic resonance fingerprinting uses a constantly varying sequence of pulses, resulting in a single, unified exam. The final quantitative maps are generated by comparing the response against a lookup table, resulting in a more rapid and repeatable characterization of tissues.

This approach brings significant improvements over traditional MRI methods, but the remaining challenge is in identifying the best sequence of pulses and readouts in order to achieve the best scan efficiency, or an acquisition optimized for identifying a particular disease. These are problems conventional computational methods will take too long to solve.

Microsoft will help optimize the pulse sequences by mapping the problem to a form suitable for quantum computers and then use a quantum-inspired algorithm, which runs on the classical computers we have today. By generating an optimized pulse sequence, researchers at CWRU will be able to create a solution that improves the diagnostic capability of MRI. This work will lead to an improved patient experience, requiring less time in the MRI machine and providing more accurate, rapid results. Once the scan is complete, Microsoft HoloLens will be used for a 3D, holographic model of the results.

This is an inspiring demonstration of an organization taking advantage of the quantum capabilities offered today with our quantum-inspired algorithms and Microsoft Azure simulator.

We see incredible possibilities to not only improve the quality of healthcare and medical research, but also demonstrate how quantum computing, machine learning, and mixed reality can be combined to turn challenges of the past into solutions of the future.

To learn more about the collaboration between Case Western Reserve University and the Microsoft Quantum team, please visit

To learn more about quantum computing at Microsoft, visit the Microsoft Quantum website.

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