What are known as “second-generation” quantum technologies – primarily quantum computers, quantum communication, and quantum sensors – are now starting to emerge. The range of possible applications is enormous, ranging from secure communication and faster, better cancer diagnostics to the search for new materials, active substances, and insights, for example into the complex interrelationships involved in climate change. Forschungszentrum Jülich focuses on applications for quantum computers.
Cooperation with industry
In quantum computing, much is still at the stage of basic research. However, thanks to advances in precisely controlling the quantum mechanical effects of individual particles, the first applications are now within reach. “EIN Quantum NRW”, the quantum computing network for science and industry in North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW), aims to help make such applications a reality.
Through the Jülich UNified Infrastructure for Quantum computing (JUNIQ), science and industry can already access various quantum systems, such as D-Wave’s annealer, and can test applications. Cooperations are planned with the automotive industry and energy supply companies, for example.
A project is already under way with the automotive industry to optimize algorithms for artificial intelligence applications for quantum computers. Q(AI)2 focuses on optimal, flexible production planning, autonomous driving, and improved route planning for electric buses.
Perfect flight planning
Another example is flight schedules. Major airlines operate more than 1,000 flights a day in more than 100 cities worldwide. Optimal planning is crucial for commercial success. Jülich researchers, together with partners from the European OpenSuperQ project, are developing computational methods to create perfect flight plans particularly quickly on future quantum computers.