Quantum-inspired technology targets COVID-19 challenges

February 11, 2021 //By Rich Pell
Quantum-inspired technology targets COVID-19 challenges
Information and communication technology company Fujitsu has announced that it has partnered with early-stage deep technology company Entanglement to solve problems related to COVID-19 and other previously unsolvable problems through quantum-inspired technology.

The companies have partnered to demonstrate and validate the Fujitsu Digital Annealer - a quantum-inspired computing platform and related services - to address large scale logistical combinatorial optimization challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic and other intractable challenges facing humankind. Using a digital circuit design inspired by quantum phenomena, the Digital Annealer (DA) focuses on rapidly solving complex combinatorial optimization problems without the added complications and costs typically associated with quantum computing methods.

For its part, Entanglement says it is dedicated to providing unprecedented commercial access to diverse and advanced computing systems - including quantum computing, high-performance/supercomputing and purpose-built computing systems - to a broad range of customers. Focused to accelerate the development of quantum information science (QIS) and artificial intelligence (AI) without enormous up-front capital investment, Entanglement has designed an environment for rapid experimentation and breakthroughs.

Together, through a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) with the Department of Defense, the two companies offered to deliver a theoretical nationwide optimization model to solve the ongoing challenge of provisioning COVID-19-related Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to high demand areas, optimizing the equitable resource allocation of the potentially available stock of PPE in the United States, while minimizing the mileage and time traveled to emerging hotspots. A report prepared by the CRADA - Personal Protective Equipment Optimization Validation - validated that this highly complex, combinatorial challenge is solvable in seconds using the DA solution, versus days or weeks for other traditional computing algorithms.

In fact, say the companies, one metric in the report - the efficiency of overall supply and demand allocation - showed the DA outperformed a comparative Evolutionary Algorithm by 90 percent. Using real-time data from an array of public and private sources, Digital Annealer efficiency increases exponentially with the addition of diverse variables and larger datasets.

"Traditional logistics tools are simply too slow and incapable of managing the complexities of these huge combinatorial problems," says Jason Turner, CEO of

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