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ExxonMobil & IBM Exploring How Quantum Computing Can Address Complexities Facing Shipping Route Optimization

By IQT News posted 01 Apr 2021

(IndustryWeek) IBM and ExxonMobil are exploring how quantum computing could address the many complexities facing maritime transit.
Shipping route optimization is a difficult challenge to solve because of the need must account for several real-world variables that each have multiple solutions like the capacity of each ship, scheduling and finding the best route to minimize distance travelled. And the recent Suez Canal incident has only intensified the importance of improving the process.
This is why ExxonMobil is working with IBM to address explore the role quantum computing can play in optimizing maritime and vehicle shipping routes, a complex optimization problem that can be applied across not only maritime, but other industries such as automotive and supply chain.
Any kind of advantage they can achieve can be quite significant, not only in time to market, but also in terms of savings,” Jamie Thomas, general manager IBM Systems strategy and development said.
Using the open programming model Qiskit, different optimization elements were applied against four different quantum variational algorithms IBM is working with in the context of quantum computing, explains Thomas. “This allowed ExxonMobil to explore how each of these algorithms would enable them to solve this particular problem more effectively than what it can accomplish on classical machines,” she says. “They were able to conclude as quantum matures, they definitely believe it can be used to solve these kinds of optimization problems for maritime shipping. They were the first to really invest in understanding this type of complex problem in the world of maritime shipping.”

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