Recently, a research collaboration has begun between QuSoft, a quantum software research center based in Amsterdam, and the Bosch Group, a leading global provider of technologies and services. In this project, researchers from QuSoft and Bosch will investigate potential quantum computing use cases at Bosch, with a focus on applications in the engineering and artificial intelligence/machine learning fields.
CWI and QuSoft researcher Florian Speelman will work on the project for two years as a postdoc. According to Speelman, “Now that the first practical quantum computers are imminent, it is important to help companies discover how quantum algorithms can help them with, for example, optimization and simulation tasks during product development.”
At the Bosch Group, Thomas Strohm, who coordinates the quantum technology activities at Bosch Corporate Research, is confident that the company will benefit from quantum computing in the future: “Quantum computing will be very important for us at Bosch. Due to our broad technology portfolio, we see many potential use cases, ranging from optimization via machine learning to logistics. Optimization is particularly relevant in engineering, where we seek designs leading to products that are both more cost-efficient and reliable, as well as in production and scheduling. Powerful quantum computers are still a few years away, but we feel it is essential to start investigating use cases now so we are ready when suitable hardware exists.”
QuSoft director professor Harry Buhrman (QuSoft, CWI, UvA) is also enthusiastic about the project: “Even though we have known for decades that some real-world business problems could be solved by quantum computers, it is still unclear whether they can offer an advantage over conventional computers for most industrial problems. That’s why it’s so great that we are working together with Bosch to identify industrial use cases, in one of the first projects of its kind worldwide. We are very excited to be developing new and more industrially relevant quantum algorithms.”
Quantum computers exploit quantum mechanical phenomena such as superposition and entanglement, enabling them to perform specific calculations much more efficiently than classical computers can. We are currently seeing a global technology race between academic research centers and companies, all striving to be the first to build a quantum computer that is demonstrably faster for certain problems than any classical computer could possibly be. However, there are still many technological challenges to overcome, such as the instability of current prototype quantum devices.
QuSoft, a quantum software research center, was launched in December 2015. Located in the Amsterdam Science Park, QuSoft is a collaboration between the Universiteit van Amsterdam and the Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica (the national research institute for mathematics and computer science). QuSoft’s mission is to develop new protocols, algorithms, and applications for quantum computing, which will require fundamentally different techniques and approaches than those used for conventional software.
The Bosch Group is a leading global supplier of technology and services. It employs roughly 410,000 associates worldwide (as of December 31, 2018). According to preliminary figures, the company generated sales from operations of 77.9 billion euros in 2018. Its operations are divided into four business sectors: Mobility Solutions, Industrial Technology, Consumer Goods, and Energy and Building Technology. As a leading IoT company, Bosch offers innovative solutions for smart homes, smart cities, connected mobility, and connected manufacturing. It uses its expertise in sensor technology, software, and services, as well as its own IoT cloud, to offer its customers connected, cross-domain solutions from a single source. The Bosch Group’s strategic objective is to deliver innovations for a connected life. Bosch improves quality of life worldwide with products and services that are innovative and spark enthusiasm. In short, Bosch creates technology that is “Invented for life.” The Bosch Group comprises Robert Bosch GmbH and its roughly 440 subsidiary and regional companies in 60 countries. Including sales and service partners, Bosch’s global manufacturing, engineering, and sales network covers nearly every country in the world. The basis for the company’s future growth is its innovative strength. At 125 locations across the globe, Bosch employs some 69,500 associates in research and development.