Solving the hard problems with quantum computers Two projects worth millions are to make the technology of the future usable
In order for “quantum computing” to solve problems, you not only need a functioning quantum computer – you also have to be able to calculate with it. With QuBRA and ProvideQ, Technische Universität Braunschweig is involved in two projects that want to research the practical use of the computing power of quantum computers. The two research associations are receiving a total of 6.6 million euros from the Federal Ministry of Education and Research and the Federal Ministry of Economics.
Our digitalised world needs more efficient processes and use of resources in order to be efficient and fit for the future. This applies not only to production and automation, but also to transport, construction and healthcare. Efficiency also protects the environment. Even small improvements can make a big difference.
However, the most critical optimisation issues typically belong to the class of “NP-hard” problems. This means that sooner or later the effort required for the necessary algorithmic calculations grows so dramatically that determining optimal solutions becomes virtually impossible. Here there is hope that quantum computers, such as those currently being developed in Quantum Valley Lower Saxony, can push the limits of the impossible quite a bit. However, the Lower Saxony Quantum Alliance has so far concentrated mainly on hardware. For actual computing, the QuBRA and ProvideQ projects are therefore now looking at powerful computational methods for quantum computers.
QuBRA – optimising industrial processes
At QuBRA (Quantum Methods and Benchmarks for Resource Allocation), a team of experts on quantum information, classical deterministic algorithms, machine learning and software engineering started on 1 January 2022. Together with the companies Infineon and Volkswagen, they are researching methods usable for quantum computers, with which the companies can practically tackle optimisation problems. With Professor Ina Schaefer (Software Engineering) and Professor Sándor Fekete (Algorithms), two institutes of TU Braunschweig are involved in the network. The Federal Ministry of Education and Research is funding QuBRA with 3.7 million euros until 2024.
ProvideQ – Enabling the enablers
Professor Ina Schaefer and Professor Sándor Fekete also coordinate the ProvideQ project (Quantum Readiness for Optimisation Providers), which also started on 1 January 2022. The goal is to expand established modelling systems of classical optimisation with quantum algorithmic methods. Under the motto “Enabling the enablers”, ProvideQ wants to make new quantum computing methods usable for industry without the need for separate research departments.
Also involved are Professor Sebastian Stiller and Professor Timo de Wolff from the mathematics department of TU Braunschweig, scientists from quantum information theory at Leibniz Universität Hannover, theoretical physics at the University of Cologne, quantum computing at Johannes Kepler University Linz and the optimisation service providers GAMS and 4flow. The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Protection is funding ProvideQ with 2.9 million euros. The research project will also run until the end of 2024.