(EurekaAlert) Researchers at Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, have now shown that they can solve a small part of a real logistics problem with their small, but well-functioning quantum computer.
An important task is now to find useful, relevant problems that are beyond the reach of ordinary computers, but which a relatively small quantum computer could solve.
“We want to be sure that the quantum computer we are developing can help solve relevant problems early on. Therefore, we work in close collaboration with industrial companies”, says theoretical physicist Giulia Ferrini, one of the leaders of Chalmers University of Technology’s quantum computer project, which began in 2018.
Together with Göran Johansson, Giulia Ferrini led the theoretical work when a team of researchers at Chalmers, including an industrial doctoral student from the aviation logistics company Jeppesen, recently showed that a quantum computer can solve an instance of a real problem in the aviation industry.
All airlines are faced with scheduling problems. For example, assigning individual aircraft to different routes represents an optimisation problem, one that grows very rapidly in size and complexity as the number of routes and aircraft increases.
Researchers hope that quantum computers will eventually be better at handling such problems than today’s computers. The basic building block of the quantum computer – the qubit – is based on completely different principles than the building blocks of today’s computers, allowing them to handle enormous amounts of information with relatively few qubits.