A team of WACQT researchers, more specifically an industrial PhD student from the air logistics company Jeppesen together with quantum computing experimentalists and theorists, have now successfully demonstrated a quantum algorithm which represents a small instance of a flight optimization problem. The algorithm was run on WACQT’s superconducting two-qubit processor. In this first demonstration, the result could easily be verified as the instance of the solved problem was very small – it involved only two airplanes.
“We have shown that the so-called Quantum Approximate Optimization Algorithm works in practice and that we have the ability to map useful problems onto our quantum processor. We have few qubits, but they work really well. The challenge is now to maintain the performance as we scale up”, says experimentalist Jonas Bylander.
The team is first to have managed to run the Quantum Approximate Optimization Algorithm to its second level, an achievement which requires really good hardware and accurate control of the hardware. The resulting scientific paper is available as a pre-print at arxiv.org.
The team has also simulated solving the same problem for 278
planes, requiring 25 qubits, with the Quantum Approximate Optimization
Algorithm. The result corroborate the potential of solving larger
instances of flight optimization on a quantum computer, as described in another pre-print at