BMW starts quantum computing challenge

Technology News |
By Christoph Hammerschmidt

Starting today, interested scientists, start-ups and other innovators from the global quantum computing community can submit their solution approaches on a platform specially set up by BMW. The company’s experts have identified over 50 challenges along the value chain where quantum computing could offer potential benefits. This requires innovative algorithms and a significant improvement in hardware.

The carmaker now wants to involve the global quantum computing community to find the best solutions for the near and distant future. Four specific challenges with potential for quantum advantage are at the forefront of the Challenge:

  1. optimising sensor positions for automated driving functions
  2. simulation of material deformations in the production process
  3. optimising the configuration of pre-production vehicles
  4. machine learning for automated quality analyses

Submissions will be accepted from now until 24 September 2021 and will be reviewed and evaluated by a panel of experts. A final event will follow in December 2021, where the best participants can pitch their solutions to the jury. The winners will win the BMW Group as a customer and will subsequently be involved in the implementation of the respective pilot projects.

BMW is supported by AWS in the challenge: Experts from the Amazon offshoot Amazon Quantum Solutions Lab not only sit on the jury that evaluates the submitted solution proposals, AWS also provides credits for the use of Amazon Braket to promote the development and testing of the submitted quantum algorithms. Amazon Braket provides a development environment to research and create quantum algorithms, test them on quantum circuit simulators, and run them on a variety of quantum hardware technologies.

The current competition is not BMW’s first foray into quantum computing. The company only recently joined others in launching the Quantum Technology and Application Consortium. In addition, the Bavarian vehicle manufacturer initiated an endowed chair on quantum algorithms and applications at the Technical University of Munich in June and is funding it for the next six years. The chair is intended as a bridge between basic research and industrial application.

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