Possible commercial value
Speaking about how Reply is helping to provide potential use cases for its customers, quantum computing expert Johannes Oberreuter said: “We work on a level that translates the problem into a quantum language that is as universal as possible and doesn’t go too deep into the hardware
“The first thing we have found that is delivering value now is mastery of optimization problems. An example is the ‘traveling salesman problem’, which has many applications in logistics, where complexities and constraints also need to be taken into account, such as during the pandemic.
“Very often, problems found to be too complex to be optimized on common hardware are addressed by some heuristics. There is usually a team or person with domain experience who can help with this, but they don’t know that there are better solutions now. Quantum computing allows problems to be presented in a structured way, similar to a wish list, containing all the business complexities. They are all encoded in a so-called objective function, which can then be solved in a structured way.
“Companies have used all sorts of algorithms and brainpower to try to solve optimization problems. Finding the optimum with an objective function is still a difficult problem to solve, but here a quantum computer can come to the rescue.”
According to Oberreuter, once a quantum computer engages in the problem-solving process, the optimal solution can be found, allowing companies to find the best fixes for the problem. While current quantum computers, which are well-suited for these types of problems, called quantum anneals, now have more than 5,000 qubits, many companies that engage Reply’s services often find that the problems they have require more than 16,000-20,000 qubits. variables, which requires further progress. made in space.
“You can figure this out by approximating,” Reply’s data scientist commented. “We have been writing a program that is determining an approximate solution to this objective function, and we have tested it beyond the usual number of qubits needed.
“The system is configured in a way that prevents the execution time from increasing exponentially, resulting in a business-friendly execution time of a couple of seconds. This reduces the quality of the solution, but we get a 10-15% better result than what commercial heuristics usually provide.”
Through proofs of concept, Reply has been able to help customers overcome the challenge of quantum inexperience. By utilizing and accumulating experience in the field, a “shoulder-to-shoulder” approach helps clarify how solutions can be most efficiently developed.
quantum machine learning
Machine learning has risen to prominence in recent years to help automate business processes with data and help organizations achieve goals faster. However, machine learning projects can sometimes suffer from missing data and computational expenses. To combat this, Reply has been looking at the problem-solving capabilities that quantum computing offers.
Oberreuter explained: “What we have discovered with quantum machine learning is that it can find better solutions, even with the limited hardware that is currently accessible. While there will probably never be an end-to-end quantum machine learning workflow, the integration of quantum computing into the current machine learning workflow is helpful.
“Some cloud providers now offer quantum processing units (QPUs). In a deep learning setup for complex tasks, you can easily rent it from cloud providers through individual calls to experiment, if it improves your current model.
“What we have found interesting about our contribution to the quantum challenge undertaken by BMW and AWS is the combination of classical machine learning models with quantum models. The former is really good at extracting attributes from unstructured data, like images, which are then joined using a quantum representation that provides an advantage for classification.”
Hurst, A. (2022e, Jan 24). How quantum computing is helping businesses to meet objectives. Information Age. Retrieved January 24, 2022, from https://www.information-age.com/how-quantum-computing-is-helping-businesses-to-meet-objectives-123497628/