Could Quantum Computing Solve Maritime Complexities?
+ Shipping route optimization is a difficult challenge to solve because of the need must account for several real-world variables that each have multiple solutions like the capacity of each ship, scheduling and finding the best route to minimize distance travelled. And the recent Suez Canal incident has only intensified the importance of improving the process.
+ This is why ExxonMobil is working with IBM to address explore the role quantum computing can play in optimizing maritime and vehicle shipping routes, a complex optimization problem that can be applied across not only maritime, but other industries such as automotive and supply chain.
+ Simply put, the complex problems facing maritime shipping impacts the majority of the world’s transportation elements from a supply chain perspective and represents trillions of dollars. Unfortunately, numerous constraints exist in terms of port arrivals and departures – and, if a route includes going through a critical path like the Panama Canal or Suez Canal, precision timing is crucial.
“Any kind of advantage they can achieve can be quite significant, not only in time to market, but also in terms of savings,” Jamie Thomas, general manager IBM Systems strategy and development, tells IndustryWeek. “While optimization problems are too difficult for classical computers to solve today, they are the ideal type of problem poised to be solved by quantum computing, which use an entirely new model of computing based on quantum physics, which can overcome the problem of multiple variables and provide the best answer.”
+ Using the open programming model Qiskit, these different optimization elements were applied against four different quantum variational algorithms IBM is working with in the context of quantum computing, explains Thomas. “This allowed ExxonMobil to explore how each of these algorithms would enable them to solve this particular problem more effectively than what it can accomplish on classical machines,” she says. “They were able to conclude as quantum matures, they definitely believe it can be used to solve these kinds of optimization problems for maritime shipping. They were the first to really invest in understanding this type of complex problem in the world of maritime shipping.”
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