Rene: Hi! Welcome to QuBites, your bite size pieces of Quantum Computing. My name is Rene from Valorem Reply and today we’re going to talk about Quantum Computing impact we’re already seeing today and where we’re already seeing return on investments, quite a bit. And I’m honored to have a special expert guest on the show again, you might remember Marco [Magagnini from Data Reply] from the previous episode. Hi Marco, welcome again.
Marco: Hi Rene, hope you are fine.
Rene: I’m very well. Can you tell us a little about yourself and your background as it relates to Quantum Computing?
Marco: Yes. Very shortly, I got a degree in Physics, then a Ph.D. in Computer Engineering. In the last 20 years I have worked in Information Technology consultancies and in the last three years, I’ve worked on Quantum Computing for Reply.
Rene: So, a real Ph.D. expert here, well that’s impressive. But, let’s break it down in chunks so that I understand it without a Ph.D. So, tell me a little about the impact we’re already seeing today, especially when we’re applying quantum-inspired optimization, which we covered in the previous episode. Maybe you can tell us a little bit about some of the key areas we’re already seeing [quantum-inspired computing in use] and maybe expand on one example with one of our clients where we’re applying [quantum-inspired computing].
Marco: Yeah, so let’s start from an example that is a real project that we have done for an international energy company. This company, every day they send out more than 300 cars to do maintenance activities. They are going to fix something in the energy distribution lines. And so they have to do a lot of work [covering] a lot of kilometers with these cars. And what they want to do is minimize the distance that they have to travel. Because traveling is a high cost. You pay for the gasoline, you pay for the cars you pay for the people, so you want to travel less and work more. And this is easy to say but it’s very very hard to calculate. It’s an NP-hard problem if you want to [refer to it] in a technical way. However, it’s very very hard to calculate to find the optimal solution with standard algorithms and standard computers. Its very hard. You find a solution, but maybe it’s not the best. Maybe you can travel 10% less and you want to travel that 10% less. So, what is happening? It is happening is that Quantum Computers and Quantum Algorithms are very good in doing this. So in the last three years we have worked on this [type of business optimization projects] and we are seeing real customers, real projects, that you can enhance the solution, [and help] customers save money. A lot of money, we’re talking about millions of dollars. Because you can travel less each day or you spend less in the finance consumptions each day. So [Quantum-Inspired] Optimization is a very very purposeful field, and it applies to finance, to logistics, to energy, to travel, a lot of areas.
Rene: Right, and the example you showed is basically the classical traveling salesmen problem. Which you have some optimization algorithms already, but they might get stuck, like you mentioned at the local minimum. And with Quantum-Inspired Optimization, you can achieve a better global minimum. Basically, the minimum you have to apply energy into the system. So, you can save money and also, especially if we’re traveling about traveling and having people on the road with their cars, also [reduce] carbon footprint as well right? Which is very important too.
Marco: You are perfectly right. This is the case. [With Quantum-Inspired Computing], you explore more solutions in less time, and you find better solutions. Sure, you have to do it right, we have published our scientific paper, peer review, on Springer Quantum Machine Intelligence because we have to do it right. But if you do it right, you find better solutions and you can run also on classical hardware like GPUs. GPUs they are very good. And in the meantime, [while we] wait for bigger QPUs, we are happy with GPUs.
Rene: So, we have these Quantum-Inspired Optimization Algorithms. They can run on classical hardware and are already optimized for Quantum Computers once we have enough Qubits. [Those algorithms] will just fly on those machines and we are already set up. We’re already seeing huge impact on classical hardware. I mean that is really impressive.
Marco: That will be great, on quantum [computers] that will be crazy, [these algorithms] will really fly!
Rene: They will just fly right? Like a rocket and you can explore all these in parallel, these kind of different routes and so on. That is awesome. Thank you so much for joining us today. Marco, it was a real pleasure again to hear about all your insights and your customer story, where [our clients are] already seeing huge returns on investments. If you want to know about more of some these use cases and some of these examples, check out our blog. Also, in general, follow our social media channels and check out the blog to hear about the next episodes of QuBites and thanks for joining us today. Stay safe, take care and see you soon! Bye bye and thank you so much Marco.
Marco: Thank you very much Rene and thank you everybody, bye!