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PsiQuantum, Mercedes-Benz latest to team on electric vehicle battery project

By Dan O'Shea posted 20 Apr 2022

PsiQuantum said recently that it worked with Mercedes-Benz one a project to show how a fault-tolerant quantum computer could effectively simulate electrolyte molecules in lithium-ion batteries, an effort which could lead to improvements in these batteries, which are often used in electric vehicles.

The work is yet another recent example of how quantum computing firms are working with automotive companies to explore and advance various quantum computing use cases in that sector. For instance, IonQ and Hyundai Motor Company also have studied using quantum processors for chemical simulations with an eye toward improving electric vehicle batteries (a relationship the companies just expanded to cover object detection as well), and Toyota and QunaSys also have worked together.

PsiQuantum and Mercedes-Benz said they found that chemical simulations studying the effects of fluoroethylene carbonate on battery performance would be “impossible” for conventional computers and “impractical” on current gate-model quantum computers, but could be performed much more efficiently on a photonic fusion-based quantum computer (FBQC). This type of machine “could simulate the effect of fluoroethylene carbonate on battery performance in under a day,” PsiQuantum said in a blog post.

“The study also demonstrated one of the great advantages of photonic quantum computing – how a technique specific to this approach, known as interleaving, can be leveraged to trade-off runtime and hardware resource requirements,” the blog post further stated. “Interleaving reuses single pieces of hardware multiple times – storing photons output from the hardware in optical fiber until they’re needed. By increasing algorithm runtime to 2.5 weeks, interleaving allows fluoroethylene carbonate to be simulated with 20x fewer hardware resources. This means that PsiQuantum now knows with mathematical conviction that they can enable breakthroughs in Li-ion battery design, by running this optimized algorithm on its utility scale quantum computing architecture.”

This news comes not long after PsiQuantum and GlobalFoundries obtained $25 million in federal government funding to help advance their quantum photonic processor manufacturing efforts.

Dan has covered telecommunications and related topics including semiconductors, sensors, retail systems, digital payments and quantum computing/technology for over 25 years.

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