BMW and Amazon launch quantum computing challenge - Just Auto
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BMW and Amazon launch quantum computing challenge

By David Leggett 13 Jul 2021 (Last Updated July 20th, 2021 08:40)

Call for quantum computing solutions to specific industrial challenges with a follow-up project for the winning team.

BMW and Amazon launch quantum computing challenge
One problem of the Quantum Computing Challenge aims at optimizing the positioning of sensors for automated driving functions.

BMW and Amazon have combined to set a challenge for researchers, start-ups and pioneering companies from the global quantum computing community aimed at solutions for specific industrial challenges. The ‘BMW Group Quantum Computing Challenge’ will be run in collaboration with Amazon Web Services, Inc. (AWS).

The challenge encourages entrants to come up with innovative quantum algorithms and test their solutions on real quantum computing technologies. Quantum computing holds potential to address challenging problems in the automotive sector in complex optimisation, materials research, and – in the form of quantum machine learning – automated driving in tomorrow’s world.

Peter Lehnert, Vice President BMW Group Research, New Technologies, said: “The technological landscape in the field of quantum computing is only just starting to take shape. Different firms and research institutes are pursuing a variety of approaches. By launching our crowd innovation initiative, we are hoping to tap into additional innovative power that would be beyond the reach of a standard tendering process.”

Specific challenges for quantum computing

BMW has identified over 50 challenges at various stages of the value chain where quantum computing could provide a potential benefit in the future. This requires innovative algorithms and a significant improvement of the hardware. The Quantum Computing Challenge will focus on four specific challenges where quantum computing could deliver an advantage over classical computing methods:

  • Optimisation of sensor positions for automated driving functions
  • Simulation of material deformation in the production process
  • Optimisation of pre-production vehicle configuration
  • Machine Learning for automated quality assessment

Registration begins today, and the deadline for submissions is 24 September 2021, after which they will be examined and judged by a panel of experts. A final event will take place in December 2021, where the top entrants will have the opportunity to pitch their solutions to the panel of expert judges. The winners will gain the BMW Group as a client and will also be involved in the implementation of the respective pilot projects.

AWS is supporting the BMW Group via the Amazon Quantum Solutions Lab, an expert group of professionals that helped outline the challenge use cases and who will be on the panel that selects the winners. AWS will provide credits for entrants to use Amazon Braket to encourage development and testing of the quantum algorithms submitted. Amazon Braket provides a development environment for users to explore and build quantum algorithms, test them on quantum circuit simulators, and run them on a variety of quantum hardware technologies.

“Quantum computing is in its early stages but its long-term impact promises to be transformational for many industries,” said Bill Vass, Vice President of Engineering, AWS. “Indeed, enabling cutting edge research in quantum computing and helping businesses prepare for the quantum future is why we launched Amazon Braket and built out our team of experts at the Amazon Quantum Solutions Lab. We’re thrilled to support BMW and the quantum community in this innovation challenge. We applaud BMW’s leadership in tackling real industrial challenges where quantum computers may one day provide an advantage.”

See also: Automakers and suppliers shouldn’t dawdle on further delving into quantum computing