BMW Kicks Off Crowd-sourced Quantum Challenge with AWS; Sept. 24 Deadline

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With hope of making quantum computing an automotive innovative engine, BMW today invited researchers, start-ups and companies from the quantum computing community to propose solutions for industrial challenges to the BMW Group Quantum Computing Challenge.

In collaboration with Amazon Web Services, Inc. (AWS) and its Braket managed quantum computing service, the challenge entrants will develop innovative quantum algorithms and test their solutions on quantum computing technologies, BMW said. “Quantum computing holds potential to address challenging problems in the automotive sector in complex optimisation, materials research, and – in the form of quantum machine learning – automated driving in tomorrow’s world,” said the company.

Registration begins today, and the deadline for submissions is Friday, Sept. 24, after which they will be examined and judged by a panel. A final event will take place in December where the top entrants will pitch their solutions to the panel of judges. The winners will gain the BMW Group as a client and will also be involved in the implementation of the respective pilot projects, the company said.

BMW has listed more than 50 challenges where quantum computing, with innovative algorithms and hardware improvement, could provide advantages over classical HPC methods. The challenge will have four focus areas:

  1. Optimisation of sensor positions for automated driving functions
  2. Simulation of material deformation in the production process
  3. Optimisation of pre-production vehicle configuration
  4. Machine learning for automated quality assessment

AWS is supporting the BMW Group via the Amazon Quantum Solutions Lab, a group that helped outline the challenge use cases and will be on the panel that selects the winners. AWS will provide credits for entrants to use Amazon Bracket, a managed quantum service designed to give researchers and developers a development environment to build quantum algorithms, test them on quantum circuit simulators and run them on different quantum hardware technologies.

“The technological landscape in the field of quantum computing is only just starting to take shape,” said Peter Lehnert, VP, BMW Group Research, New Technologies. “Different firms and research institutes are pursuing a variety of approaches. By launching our crowd innovation initiative, we are hoping to tap into additional innovative power that would be beyond the reach of a standard tendering process.”

This isn’t BMW’s first quantum foray. Last month, the company joined with nine corporations to found the Quantum Technology and Application Consortium (QUTAC), whose goal is to produce a high quantity of use cases for industry and, in so doing, create demand for quantum computing. QUTAC is intended to speed up development of the technology in Germany and Europe.

Also last month, BMW with the Technical University of Munich (TUM) announced the creation of an endowed chair in “Quantum Algorithms and Applications.” Over six years, the company will make €5.1 million available to TUM for a professorship, equipment and personnel.