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Innovate UK Award to Confirm Business Case for Quantum-enhanced Optimization Algorithms

Today D-Wave Systems announced its involvement in a grant-funded UK project to improve logistics and planning operations using quantum computing algorithms. The work will focus on an area known as AI/Hierarchical Task Network planning techniques, used to optimize resource management and operations for a wide range of industries including law enforcement, telecommunications, and transportation.

Advancing AI planning techniques could significantly improve operational efficiency across major industries, from law enforcement to transportation and beyond,” said Robert “Bo” Ewald, president of D-Wave International. “Advancing real-world applications for quantum computing takes dedicated collaboration from scientists and experts in a wide variety of fields. This project is an example of that work and will hopefully lead to faster, better solutions for critical problems.”

Over the next year, the project will explore how D-Wave’s quantum annealing system can enhance and refine planning techniques. The objective is to confirm the business case for quantum-enhanced optimization algorithms. As a result of this research, the team will release reports on their experiments with quantum algorithmic approaches, case studies on telecommunications network optimization, and outputs from commercialization workshops and collaboration with industry players in a variety of markets.

Complex planning problems are considered too demanding for classical computers. Especially when dealing with larger solution spaces, the required processing power is prohibitively expensive and computations require too much time. Therefore, enhancing AI planning capabilities with quantum computing could help operations teams across industries optimize complex plans and schedules to manage resources and operations efficiently.

D-Wave’s quantum annealing approach is well suited to solving constraint satisfaction problems that make up 99 percent of the processing power required for running AI planners,” said Dr. Roberto Desimone, Director, Plantagenet Systems. “Leveraging D-Wave’s system will help us understand how quantum annealing can enhance simple planning techniques in order to solve optimized planning tasks and refine them algorithmically.”

The project includes academics from BT Group, D-Wave, University College London, and University of Bristol. The team is led by Plantagenet Systems, a company specializing in quantum R&D. Grant funding comes from Innovate UK, a public innovation agency funded by the UK’s Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy. The project won a 12-month grant as part of Innovate UK’s “Commercialisation of Quantum Technologies” competition for funding.

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