Quantum Technology: Cutting The Supply Chain Knot
+ Quantum computers are exceptionally good at solving optimization problems. These are problems where you are looking for the best of many possible combinations of variables, such as what’s the most efficient route I need to deliver a stack of packages to multiple cities; or what’s the quickest, cheapest way to get the components I need to manufacture my product, including the best possible alternative sources if my main suppliers run out. These are also puzzles that classical computers, even super computers, can’t figure out.
Thanks to annealing, what would have been a miracle then, is reality now. And what happens when full-scale quantum computers are turned loose on our toughest optimization problems? Cutting the Gordian knot made Alexander the master of Asia. Could cutting the supply chain management knot once and for all make American industry the master of the global economy?
+ The Japanese company Fujitsu has even developed a digital annealer that mimics the processing of a quantum annealer—so much so that it can tackle the knotty supply chain problems that used to elude managers. The company that’s proving it is American-based Entanglement, Inc., which has teamed with Fujitsu to use the annealer to tackle supply inventory problems for the U.S. Army.
+ Supply chain management, and the allocation of strategic commodities like steel and copper, almost derailed the biggest and most important manufacturing surge in American history, the mobilization for World War Two. It’s amazing to think what would have happened if executives had had a quantum computer, or annealer, at their disposal, and how the breakthroughs that resulted would have shortened the war.
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