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Pasqal and EDF partner to study smart-charging challenges with Quantum Computing

Quantum Computing startup Pasqal collaborates with the R&D department of electric utility EDF to bring fast solutions to hard optimization problems.

Press release from Pasqal
July 21st 2020 | 766 readers

Pasqal and EDF partner to study smart-charging challenges with Quantum Computing
Quantum computers have the potential to solve hard computational problems more efficiently than their classical counterparts. Applications notably encompass computational drug design, materials science, machine learning, and optimization problems. With the rapid developments of quantum hardware, practical quantum advantage is within reach.

With many cities turning to e-mobility to tackle environmental challenges, electric utilities have to account for a growing and more complex load to manage for their production facilities and the grid. One example is the need to schedule resource allocation for shared electric vehicles while taking into considerations their expected and real time availability as well as charging constraints. This class of problem is computationally hard to solve even with large supercomputers and it is expected that a quantum algorithm called Quantum Approximate Optimization Algorithm (QAOA) could improve its resolution.

EDF made smart charging and the development of its infrastructures one of the strong point of its Electric Mobility Plan, launched in October 2018. EDF views smart charging as a true asset for electric vehicle’s users and for the electrical system. Through its subsidiaries, IZIVIA and DREEV, the EDF Group already provides V2G solutions.

Through its Pulse Explorer Program, EDF R&D routinely reaches out to start-ups to explore new ideas in a collaborative way. EDF and Pasqal have formalized a partnership to explore how this algorithm could be implemented on the neutral atoms’ quantum processor developed at Pasqal and take benefit from its unique properties.

The core of the partnership is to finely tune the algorithms according to the hardware’s possibilities and to mitigate the impact of the errors. The level of performance will be gauged on a classical emulator, prior to a real hardware implementation.

Loïc Henriet, head of software development at Pasqal explained: “we have developed our full software stack with specific tools for generic optimization problems, but it is very important that we engage directly with partners working on applications. We need to focus on practical use cases to show that quantum processors can provide a real advantage.”

Marc Porcheron, head of EDF R&D’s Quantum Computing project, said: “utilities such as EDF have to be at the forefront of innovation in high performance computing. It is great to collaborate with Pasqal to explore the new possibilities opened by Quantum Computing for hard optimization problems like the ones we face in the decisive field of smart-charging. I am impressed with the results that have already been achieved with Pasqal, and look forward to implement on their upcoming hardware the quantum algorithms we investigate together.”

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