(Forbes) Christopher Savoie, Ph.D., CEO and founder of Zapata Computing explains how quantum computers are poised to optimize supply chains involving a wide range of intersecting variables. This could transform the distribution of everything from life-saving drugs and critical resources to electronics, food and basic consumer goods.
The more data these systems have access to, the more effective they become. One can imagine a future where quantum optimization algorithms work with live IoT data from vehicles, roadways and inventory endpoints. This data would enable quantum algorithms to adjust routes in real time based on real-world conditions. The overall synergy could help logistics companies save money by continuously optimizing routes based on inventory stock-outs, vehicle performance, traffic patterns, weather conditions and more.
Quantum-powered supply chain optimization algorithms could mitigate costly downtime in the wake of natural disasters, political conflicts and other challenges. Indeed, in the future, quantum computers can help to quickly address and overcome supply chain disruptions such as those introduced by our current pandemic.
As an added benefit, quantum-optimized supply chains should also reduce the carbon footprint for entire industries, a universally recognized goal. Transportation accounts for 28% of all greenhouse gas emissions. Optimizing routes by just 5% for U.S. freight trucks alone would reduce carbon emission by roughly 22 million tons each year.
companies that start using quantum software now should reap the rewards as the hardware inevitably matures. My company is working with Coca-Cola Bottlers Japan Inc. to help it explore and test how quantum can better optimize its deliveries servicing approximately 700,000 vending machines.
The challenges that we face with regard to supply chains and logistics will only become more complicated. The good news is that quantum computing can provide a means for mastering this complexity.

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