Inside Quantum Technology

Cambridge Quantum and Deutsche Bahn Netz AG leverage latest quantum algorithms to optimize train scheduling

(HPCWire) Cambridge Quantum (CQ) and Deutsche Bahn Netz AG (DB) announced a partnership to explore how quantum computers can improve the rescheduling of rail traffic as part of DB’s long-term transformative plan, Digitale Schiene Deutschland, to digitize DB’s infrastructure and railway system using next-generation technologies to achieve a higher capacity and optimal utilization of the rail network.
Combining CQ’s latest combinatorial optimization algorithm Filtering Variational Quantum Eigensolver (F-VQE) – recently shown to outperform leading quantum algorithms – with DB’s operations research expertise, the team re-optimized realistic train timetables after simulated delays and are now identifying areas for continued study. This collaboration evidences how innovations in both quantum algorithms and domain-specific modeling can inform a long-term vision for a faster and greener transportation network.
Michael Küpper, lead of Capacity and Traffic Management System at Digitale Schiene Deutschland, said, “The collaboration with CQ is a perfect example of how Deutsche Bahn is working as a partner with industry providers and combining our relative expertise towards a goal neither side can achieve alone. By working with CQ, we have fine-tuned our research and development plans and taken the first steps in defining a future quantum-advantaged train timetabling system. We are excited to continue working with CQ to address some of the key challenges and contribute to the rapidly evolving field of NISQ quantum algorithm research.“
As a subsidiary of Deutsche Bahn AG, DB Netz AG is responsible for the rail infrastructure. DB Netz AG is the service provider for currently 420 railway undertakings (RUs) utilizing a route network comprising nearly 33,300 km. The German railway network is the longest in all of Europe. DB Netz AG ensures non-discriminatory access to its infrastructure. The performance of non-DB-Group railways in the network has greatly increased over the years. DB Netz is responsible for the operation of an efficient railway infrastructure (long-distance and conurbation networks, regional networks, train-formation and treatment facilities).
Digitale Schiene Deutschland is a sector initiative of DB AG, the German Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI) and further relevant transport associations for the fundamental modernization and digitalization of railway infrastructure through the consistent introduction of digital control and safety technology. In addition, Digitale Schiene Deutschland is working on a far-reaching digitalization of the railway system. For this, a system architecture will detail the tasks of individual components of the railway system, and how they should work together.

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