(NHK-World.Japan) Scientists in Japan have been using a powerful computer to work out ways to cut congestion at places such as shopping malls in the face of the coronavirus. A trial calculation using a quantum computer found the density of crowds at peak periods in commercial facilities can be reduced by 49 to 56 percent if people halve the time they spend at those sites.
Sigma-i, a start-up established by members of Tohoku University, made the calculation.
Scientists used location information collected from mobile phones with the owners’ consent to determine how congestion at supermarkets and malls can be alleviated without reducing shopper numbers.
They found the greatest impact would come when people who normally spend an hour and a half shopping cut that time by half.
Ohzeki Masayuki of Sigma-i says the results point to steps that are achievable without drastically changing people’s daily lives. He adds that it provides clues on ways to prevent coronavirus infections while keeping the economy going.