Since the start of the call for submissions in January 2019, more than 800 people registered interest in the challenge and a total of 36 proposals were submitted.
“We were really thrilled by the strong response from the quantum computing community,” explains Thierry Botter, Head of Blue Sky at Airbus. “It really speaks volumes to the community’s motivation to transform the world as we know it by bringing in this additional capability to businesses like Airbus.”
Each finalist team proposed a solution to one of the five problem statements, which were structured to address industry-relevant flight physics challenges facing the aviation industry today, from aircraft design to aircraft operations. These problem statements were primarily optimisation challenges of varying complexity. Submitted proposals offered either a fully quantum or quantum-hybrid approach with a level of scalability based on technology maturity and evolution.
Jury members received clear evaluation criteria to determine both the scientific and quantum computing merits of the proposed approach, as well as its potential to translate into aerospace-specific applications. And from Airbus’ perspective, the proposals—as well as the enthusiasm of the quantum computing community—exceeded expectations.
“The clarity of the formulations, despite the tight deadline, was really impressive,” Lee-Ann Ramcherita, Innovation and Marketable Services, Airbus Flight Physics, says. “The finalists were able to understand the problem statements and provide solutions that offer a constructive approach to address aerospace challenges with quantum computing capabilities.”
For Thierry, the quality of the submitted proposals also reflects the high potential for future industry-academia collaboration.
“We organised this competition to make a bridge to the quantum computing community,” he says. “And the response from the community was enthusiastic! We believe this challenge can serve as a new template for how businesses like Airbus can link with quantum computing researchers across the globe to transform this fundamental research topic into an impactful computing solution for a wide range of industrial applications.”
Team Capgemini (The Netherlands / France)
Members: Julian van Velzen, Olmo Kortenbosch, Philippe Sottocasa, Michiel Boreel, Gautam Jeyakodi and Philippe Abdiche
Team Machine Learning Reply (Italy)
Members: Nicola Massarenti, Giovanni Pilon and Nicola Gugole
Team Niels Backfisch (Germany)
Member: Niels Backfisch
Team Origin Quantum (China)
Members: Yongjie Zhao, Weicheng Kong, Zhaoyun Chen, Zhilong Jia and Hui Zhang
Team Universidad de Montevideo (Uruguay)
Members: Dr. Rafael Sotelo, Dr. Gerardo Beltrame, Martín Machín, Laura Gatti, Ignacio Méndez, Maximiliano Stock, Joaquín Fernández, Diego Gibert, Juan-Diego Orihuela, José-Pedro Algorta