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Using Quantum Computing to Optimize Shipping Routes

By IQT News posted 15 Mar 2021

(SupplyChainBrain) Amy Herhold, Director of Physics and Mathematical Sciences, Corporate Strategic Research with ExxonMobil Research and Engineering, and Jamie Thomas, General Manager of IBM Systems Strategy & Development, discuss the use of quantum computing to optimize shipping routes.
Optimal routing of Exxon’s ships includes elements such as weather patterns, inventory levels and length of voyage. In the end, the number of variables involved in such calculations “can quickly swamp what you can do with a classical computer today,” says Herhold.
Exxon’s use of quantum computing is still in the exploratory stage, says Herhold. Ultimately, the problem of ship routing will require larger quantum computers and accompany algorithms that can work with the greater number of variables. But the technology is already being applied to multiple industries, and can even be used in tandem with classical computing for decisions such as ship routing.
“We’re clearly a few years out from full production,” says Thomas. “What we’re seeing now is a massive amount of experimentation.”

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