Solving optimization problems with quantum computing

Research project launches for easy access to quantum computing for small and large companies

Press Release /

In the future, quantum computers will be able to solve highly complex tasks that traditional computers have failed to do so far. In the QuaST project, which is funded by Germany’s Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Action, seven partners from science and industry are researching how to make quantum computing as easily accessible as possible for small and large companies. The aim is to provide end users with a toolbox that they can use in different situations, for example to optimize production processes, for business forecasting and also to significantly increase efficiency.

The focus of the newly launched project QuaST (Quantum-enabling Services and Tools for Industrial Applications) is finding efficient solutions for complex optimization problems. Seven partners from science and industry have started using quantum computing to solve such issues, in order to make these solutions accessible to companies that don’t have any relevant prior knowledge. The QuaST project aims at making this possible through the development of software and tools with a holistic approach.

Using quantum computing to optimize planning and adaptation processes

The aim of QuaST is to provide end-users with high-level libraries that automatically decompose the solution into parts requiring either classical, high-performance or quantum computing, according to the problem submitted. The parts requiring quantum computing are then optimized and mapped onto the hardware, including a co-design process. The project’s members will also develop tools to assess the reliability of the quantum computing-based solutions.

Within QuaST, a few important use cases are going to be examined: optimization of networks and supply chains (e.g. for waste management), scheduling problems (e.g. in semiconductor production) and quantum computing-based solutions for software verification and business forecasting. In addition, the project partners will be investigating use cases from the pharmaceutical industry, the automotive industry, and other safety-critical sectors.

A team from research and industry is working on the transfer of quantum technology

The project is managed by the Fraunhofer Institute for Cognitive Systems IKS, with the additional involvement of the Fraunhofer Institutes for Applied and Integrated Security AISEC, for Integrated Circuits IIS, and for Integrated Systems and Device Technology IISB. The project partners also include the Leibniz Supercomputing Center and the Technical University of Munich (TUM) as well as the companies DATEV eG, Infineon Technologies AG, IQM and ParityQC. The project sponsor is the German Aerospace Center (DLR).

»A strong consortium of Fraunhofer institutes, academic partners and companies from different sectors is working on QuaST.«, says Priv.-Doz. Dr. habil. Jeanette Lorenz, Senior Scientist for Quanten Computing at Fraunhofer IKS. »Through this initiative we are accelerating the transfer of this technology, which is crucially important for the future, from the research to the practical applications in business. With QuaST, we propose a unique, comprehensive approach, that will require only minimal knowledge of quantum computing hardware and hardware-related software components from the end-users in the industry.«

The kick-off meeting for QuaST has taken place on February 3rd. The project will run until the end of 2024 and has received 5.5 million euros in funding by the Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Action. The total volume of the project amounts to 7.7 million euros.