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Airbus Quantum Computing Challenge

Airbus Quantum Computing Challenge

Bringing flight physics into the Quantum Era

Register now and submit your solution

Register now and submit your solution



With traditional computers gradually approaching their limits, the quantum computer promises to deliver a new level of computational power. As an active user of advanced computing solutions, Airbus is at the forefront of a paradigm shift in the computing world exploring how quantum computing could solve key questions for the aerospace industry, and forever alter how aircraft are built and flown.

Airbus is taking a step forward by launching a global competition in quantum computing, challenging experts and enthusiasts in the field to join forces with the company for a Quantum Era in aerospace.

The Airbus Quantum Computing Challenge (AQCC) addresses aerospace flight physics problems developed by company experts. Airbus is providing the quantum computing community with a unique opportunity to test and assess the newly-available computing capabilities to solve some of our most difficult and complex problems, and in doing so, further legitimize and fuel progress of this technology.

The challenge puts forward five distinct flight physics problems with varying degrees of complexity, ranging from a simple mathematical question to a global flight physics problem.

Through the Airbus Quantum Computing Challenge, the company aims to develop strong ties within the quantum community and encourage support in answering key questions facing the aerospace industry.

The challenge launched beginning of 2019 and runs throughout the whole year. It is open to the whole scientific community of experts, researchers, start-ups, academics and will lay the ground for the ultimate shift to a Quantum era in aerospace.

Airbus Quantum Computing Challenge launch by Grazia Vittadini Airbus CTO at DLD Munich


Grazia Vittadini Airbus Chief Technology Officer launches the Airbus Quantum Computing Challenge at the DLD Conference in Munich Read less Read more


Flight physics, the broad denomination of all scientific and engineering aspects related to the flight of aircraft, is at the heart of Airbus’ business. The topic affects virtually all aspects of an aircraft’s life: from design to operation, from the quality of movement through the air to the revenue stream of airlines. The full lifetime cycle features many computationally difficult problems. Although computational methods and approaches exist today to address these challenges, Airbus, in its drive for innovation and improvement, is constantly seeking to revolutionize capabilities to provide innovative products that fly!

Quantum computing has the potential to yield a paradigm shift in flight physics, one that could forever alter how aircraft are built and flown. Airbus is fuelling this transformation by laying down five challenges faced in aircraft design and in-service optimisation for enthusiasts and experts to resolve using quantum computing and embark on this transformation journey collaboratively. Solutions will enable Airbus to assess how this burgeoning computational technology could be included or even replace other high-performance computational tools that, today, form the cornerstone of aircraft design.

The following paragraphs outline the summary of each challenge. For the full technical documents and to submit your solution for your chosen problem statement, please register here.

Problem Statement 1: Aircraft Climb Optimisation

Aircraft follow several flight phases during their ‘mission’ from take-off to landing. Cruise is the longest segment and is considered most important from a fuel and time optimisation perspective. Yet for the ever-increasing volume of short-haul flights, climb and descent are more critical. Fuel optimisation during these segments is very valuable for airlines. This problem focuses on the climb and how quantum computing can be applied to arrive at a low-cost index (the relative cost of time and fuel), which is central to climb efficiency. 

Will you be able to find a solution and thus make an impact on the future of aviation?

Problem Statement 2: Computational Fluid Dynamics

The efficiency of aircraft design relies heavily on the aircraft’s overall aerodynamic shape. This design is performed using Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD), demonstrate airflow behaviour around the aircraft and reveal the aerodynamic forces acting on its surfaces. However, accurate CFD simulations are a resource- and time-consuming task. This challenge aims to show how established CFD simulations can be run using a quantum computing algorithm or in a hybrid quantum-traditional way for faster problem solving and how the algorithm can scale in line with the problem complexity including computational resources.

Can you find the answer to this problem?

Problem Statement 3: Quantum Neural Networks for Solving Partial Differential Equations

Solving Partial Differential Equations (PDEs) is a major challenge when solving aerodynamic problems. Today, their resolution requires complex numerical schemes and high computational costs. Traditionally PDEs were solved in a deterministic manner using numerical methods. Recently, neural networks – deep-learning-based algorithms – have been developed to solve coupled PDEs. These networks compute the time and space derivatives of a PDE. The proposed challenge is to augment this new approach for aerodynamic problems with quantum capabilities.

Can you establish an approach useful in aviation and potentially the wider digital community?

Problem Statement 4: Wingbox Design Optimisation

Given the limitations of traditional computing, the aerospace industry faces a challenge in optimising multidisciplinary design. That’s when design configurations such as airframe loads, mass modelling and structural analysis must be simultaneously calculated. This can cause long design lead times, convoluted processes and conservative assessments. Quantum computing offers an alternative path to explore a wider design space by evaluating different parameters simultaneously, thus preserving structural integrity while optimising weight. This balance is particularly important in aircraft wingbox design, where weight optimisation is key to low operating costs and reduced environmental impact. 

How do you propose quantum computing could address this complexity?

Problem Statement 5: Aircraft Loading Optimisation

Airlines try to make the best use of an aircraft’s payload capability to maximise revenue, optimise fuel burn and lower overall operating costs. Their scope for optimisation is limited by the aircraft’s operational envelope, which is determined by each mission’s maximum payload capacity, the aircraft’s centre of gravity and its fuselage shear limits. The objective of this challenge is to calculate the optimal aircraft configuration under coupled operational constraints, thus demonstrating how quantum computing can be used for practical problem solving and how it can scale towards more complex issues.

Put your theory to the test and be part of the breakthrough in quantum computing!


Who can enter / participate

The challenge is open to Quantum Computing experts and enthusiasts (post-graduate students, PhDs, academics, researchers, start-ups, or professionals in the field), and you can participate either as an individual or as a team. To access the technical details of the problem statements and for more information on how to submit, please register here.

Why should I get involved

Winners will be offered unique opportunities for hardware access (scheduled for 2020 and after), and to work collaboratively with our industry experts from the flight physics sector.

And throughout the competition we’ll be interacting with the QC Community, answering questions and clarifying the problem.

The exact nature of the prize for each of the five problem statements may vary.

The potential benefits gained as an outcome if your solution is selected through participating in the AQCC include access to Airbus and industry experts for the evolution of the proposals, or alternative forms of support to develop the proposals further.

What should I submit

The submission period ends on 31 October 2019 at 11:59 (GMT). The assessment period will last until end of January 2020, following which participants will be informed about the results within the first quarter of 2020.

Each Participant or Team is required to upload their submission in accordance with the ‘Submission Guidelines’ document that is available to download on the submission platform. To access the platform and additional information to support your submission, register here.

See the five steps to follow to help prepare for your final submission:

1.       Register for the Quantum Computing Challenge online

2.       Select the Problem Statement(s) you wish to address and download the technical document(s)

3.       Review the KPIs for the Problem Statement(s) within the technical document(s)

4.       Download the Submission Guidelines document

5.       Submit your final solution before 11:59 (GMT) on Thursday 31st October 2019

Who owns the idea

Participants are welcome to publish their solutions in scientific journals or on online platforms. However, the Challenge organizers ask that those publications be made after the submission period concludes (starting November 2019).

The intellectual property of the submission remains with the individual or team who submits the solution. Specific conditions related to the use of the entry are detailed in the Terms and Conditions available here. Participation in the AQCC is subject to the acceptance of and adherence to these terms and conditions.


Register now to get access to the technical documents of the proposed challenges, additional resources to support submitting your solution and embark on the Quantum Computing journey with Airbus to bring flight physics into the Quantum Era.

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If you have questions about the Airbus Quantum Computing Challenge please access the Frequently Asked Questions here or send us an email at and our team will get back to you as soon as possible.

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