Quantum-inspired technology targets COVID-19 challenges

Quantum-inspired technology targets COVID-19 challenges

Business news |
By Rich Pell

The companies have partnered to demonstrate and validate the Fujitsu Digital Annealer – a quantum-inspired computing platform and related services – to address large scale logistical combinatorial optimization challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic and other intractable challenges facing humankind. Using a digital circuit design inspired by quantum phenomena, the Digital Annealer (DA) focuses on rapidly solving complex combinatorial optimization problems without the added complications and costs typically associated with quantum computing methods.

For its part, Entanglement says it is dedicated to providing unprecedented commercial access to diverse and advanced computing systems – including quantum computing, high-performance/supercomputing and purpose-built computing systems – to a broad range of customers. Focused to accelerate the development of quantum information science (QIS) and artificial intelligence (AI) without enormous up-front capital investment, Entanglement has designed an environment for rapid experimentation and breakthroughs.

Together, through a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) with the Department of Defense, the two companies offered to deliver a theoretical nationwide optimization model to solve the ongoing challenge of provisioning COVID-19-related Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to high demand areas, optimizing the equitable resource allocation of the potentially available stock of PPE in the United States, while minimizing the mileage and time traveled to emerging hotspots. A report prepared by the CRADA – Personal Protective Equipment Optimization Validation – validated that this highly complex, combinatorial challenge is solvable in seconds using the DA solution, versus days or weeks for other traditional computing algorithms.

In fact, say the companies, one metric in the report – the efficiency of overall supply and demand allocation – showed the DA outperformed a comparative Evolutionary Algorithm by 90 percent. Using real-time data from an array of public and private sources, Digital Annealer efficiency increases exponentially with the addition of diverse variables and larger datasets.

“Traditional logistics tools are simply too slow and incapable of managing the complexities of these huge combinatorial problems,” says Jason Turner, CEO of Entanglement, Inc. “Fujitsu’s Digital Annealing technology and related services, in combination with our advanced computational and quantum computing expertise, not only solve these problems quickly, but do so in a way that is scalable, effective, iterative, equitable, and transparent. The best part? The more complex the problem, the more it shines, producing evermore accurate and efficient results the more its stressed.”

The two companies formed their partnership in May of 2020 based on their common core values, which together aim to deliver advanced technology ecosystems that assist in solving large-scale, human-centric problems for end users.

Paul Warburton, Global Head of Mobility DX business at Fujitsu says, “While our initial collaborations centered on commercial prospects leveraging the emerging mobility ecosystem, the COVID-19 pandemic made it abundantly clear we needed to redeploy our conceptual thinking and quickly offer new models that accelerated our response to the virus. Both companies felt and embraced a deep responsibility to use our capabilities for good, and there is no area of greater need today than fighting this pandemic.”

The DA solution, related consultancy and professional services, together with the advanced research, experienced team and purpose-built laboratory capabilities from Entanglement, say the companies, make the particular use case for PPE optimization highly transferrable to a number of different applications in a variety of public and private sector endeavors. Agile and adaptive, the quantum-inspired model is designed to tackle a variety of linear parallel processes including:

  • predictive modeling for financial markets and portfolio optimization
  • supply chain logistics
  • transport and mobility
  • drug discovery
  • diagnosing, preventing and treating disease
  • predicting and preventing cyber threats
  • modeling simulations

The DA, says Fujitsu, also adapts to fast-moving environments and integrates with existing systems, making it non-disruptive to ongoing and transforming operations.


Related articles:
Free quantum computing cloud access for COVID-19 response
FedEx logistics sensor enables precision package tracking
Quantum ML may speed discovery of COVID-19 treatments
‘AI for logistics’ startup looks to transform delivery operations
A low appetite for data: Fujitsu’s “Wide Learning” AI

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