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USRA, Standard Chartered Bank renew partnership, focus on machine learning

By Dan O'Shea posted 12 Oct 2022

The Universities Space Research Association and Standard Chartered Bank have renewed their existing partnership around quantum computing with a new focus on machine learning.

The USRA and U.K.-based Standard Chartered first teamed up in the summer of 2020 to explore financial applications for quantum computing. Together, they produced a research article on quantum annealing approaches to portfolio optimization, among other results. The pair also later partnered with D-Wave on a quantum research competition.

This time the partners are looking to develop “advanced machine learning approaches to forecasting natural disasters, such as floods and cyclones, and explore how current-generation quantum processors, future quantum computer designs and physics-based hardware solvers could be leveraged to improve beyond the state-of-art achievable by classical machine learning techniques,” according to a statement.

The statement further suggested quantum computing technology could have such broad applicability in the long term it could positively impact all 17 of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, which include action items such as ending poverty, ending hunger, taking urgent action to combat climate change, building resilient infrastructure, promoting inclusive and sustainable economic growth, and more.

Elena Strbac, Global Head of Data Science and Innovation at Standard Chartered, said “We are excited to be renewing our partnership with our USRA colleagues in an area of such vital importance for the Bank, our clients, and our communities. We are keen to learn and to explore how quantum computing can help to accelerate the global goal to Net Zero, which is so critical for the future of our planet.”

The USRA quantum team in the Research Institute for Advanced Computer Science (RIACS) will be charged with testing, evaluating, and enhancing aspects of highly performant classical models, and as well as designing hardware and software systems that will use cloud-based quantum systems.

Dr. David Bell, Director of the RIACS at USRA, said, “USRA is committed to advancing capabilities in environmental data sciences to help mitigate the impact of disasters such as wildfires and floods. This partnership brings together an interdisciplinary team of scientists in quantum computing, environmental data sciences and machine learning to examine how emerging technologies can be developed and applied to address computationally demanding problems in Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) applications.”

Dan O’Shea 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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