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11 November, 2021 - 13:20 By Tony Quested

Cambridge Quantum fast-tracks rail revolution

Cambridge Quantum has joined forces with Deutsche Bahn Netz AG, one of the world’s largest mobility and logistics companies, to fast-track a pioneering rail venture. DB manages a majority of the rail infrastructure in Germany. 

The companies will explore the use of quantum computers to improve the rescheduling of rail traffic. The ultimate goal is to use quantum computing to pioneer solutions that can contribute to a faster and greener transportation network.

The partners say that innovations from this collaboration will lead to a meaningful contribution towards a cleaner and greener future.

DB’s long-term transformative plan is branded Digitale Schiene Deutschland and is designed to digitise DB’s infrastructure and railway system using next-generation technologies to achieve a higher capacity and optimal utilisation of the rail network.

Combining Cambridge Quantum’s latest combinatorial optimisation algorithm Filtering Variational Quantum Eigensolver (F-VQE) – recently shown to outperform leading quantum algorithms – with DB’s operations research expertise, the team re-optimised realistic train timetables after simulated delays and are now identifying areas for continued study. 

This collaboration evidences how innovations in both quantum algorithms and domain-specific modelling can inform a long-term vision for a faster and greener transportation network.

Ilyas Khan, CEO of Cambridge Quantum, said: “We are very excited to be working with Deutsche Bahn to explore and demonstrate the utility of today’s Noisy Intermediate Scale Quantum processors to solve real-world problems in the transport and logistic sector.

“Deutsche Bahn’s research and development efforts in this area are of critical importance and we are confident that over time, as quantum computers start to scale, our work will lead to a meaningful contribution towards a cleaner and greener future.”

Michael Küpper, lead of capacity and traffic management systems at Digitale Schiene Deutschland, added: “The collaboration with Cambridge Quantum is a perfect example of how Deutsche Bahn is working as a partner with industry providers and combining our relative expertise towards a goal neither side can achieve alone.

“By working with Cambridge Quantum we have fine-tuned our research and development plans and taken the first steps in defining a future quantum-advantaged train timetabling system. 

“We are excited to continue working with Cambridge Quantum to address some of the key challenges and contribute to the rapidly evolving field of NISQ quantum algorithm research.”

These are the first steps in defining a future quantum-advantaged train timetabling system.

Founded in 2014 and backed by some of the world’s leading quantum computing companies, Cambridge Quantum is a global leader in quantum software and algorithms, enabling clients to achieve the most out of rapidly evolving quantum computing hardware. 

Cambridge Quantum has offices in Europe, the US and Japan. It recently announced a merger with Honeywell Quantum Solutions which is expected to close in Q4 2021.

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