BMW turns to quantum computers to speed up car design

BMW has become the latest company to give quantum a try, aiming to cut development cycles beyond traditional means.

Quantum computing systems and software startup Pasqal has announced its partnership with the German automaker, which will use the French company’s proprietary differential equation solving algorithm to test the applicability of quantum computing to modeling. of the formation of metals.

BMW is experimenting with Pasqal’s systems to reduce the time spent building and testing physical models of metal components, which often must be painstakingly modified after testing to achieve the results designers and engineers want.

Today’s computer systems, according to Pasqal, are unable to simulate an entire vehicle in sufficient detail to obtain accurate data on a single part. Pasqal said his systems will help BMW develop lighter parts and more efficient vehicles.

Describing itself as a manufacturer of neutral-atom quantum processors, Pasqal says its systems use a digital-to-analog implementation of quantum algorithms suitable for use on its processors. Pasqal claims that this combination of software and hardware makes their systems 30 times more efficient than competing systems, although to be fair, comparisons between quantum systems are as nebulous as the technology itself.

As part of the project, Pasqal said The register it plans to use its cloud-based quantum processors to analyze the data, along with its full stack of quantum computing software.

Who did the work?

Pasqal, who is working with Saudi Aramco to explore quantum computing in the energy sector, reached his new deal after winning the BMW Group Quantum Computing Challenge in late 2021. Clicking that link won’t show the name, though. of Pasqal on the list. It absorbed one of the four winners, Qu&Co, in January 2022 after the challenge ended and the high scores were announced.

Qu&Co won the award for its material deformation simulation, which is described on the BMW challenge website as an “approach to solving partial differential equations in the field of numerical simulation”. This is very similar to the algorithm for solving differential equations that BMW is interested in.

Talk to The registera Pasqal spokesperson said they purchased Qu&Co in order to have a single company capable of offering “a complete quantum solution”, as Pasqal focuses on the development of quantum computing hardware, while Qu&Co’s work focused on algorithms and software.

“As a result, Pasqal is now the only company on the market that can offer the solution BMW is interested in, which is an important reason why the German automaker has retained Pasqal for this next term,” the spokesperson said. Paschal.

Pasqal did not respond directly to questions about whether any of its employees were involved in Qu&Co’s work on the BMW project prior to the acquisition, nor did the company say whether it had participated or not independently in the BMW competition.

It appears that Pasqal entered the competition based on a GitHub project titled “bmwchallenge” which has not been modified since shortly after submissions closed. BMW hasn’t compiled a list of the 15 finalists or the 70 readily available entrants, so it’s unclear how Pasqal’s own efforts in the challenge fared. ®

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