HomeQuantum computing

Exploring quantum computing use cases for manufacturing

Talking points
Enormous potential
Quantum computing is expected to help develop breakthrough products and services that will disrupt and redefine manufacturing.
Business advantage
Chemical discovery, product development, and process optimization are among the manufacturing areas likely to witness major innovations with quantum computing.
Substantial impact
Early adopters have the opportunity to lock in advantages that will be enormously difficult to challenge.

Quantum computing could help redefine manufacturing

Download the report

Enormous potential Quantum computing is expected to help develop breakthrough products and services that will disrupt and redefine manufacturing.

Business advantage Chemical discovery, product development, and process optimization are among the manufacturing areas likely to witness major innovations with quantum computing.

Substantial impact Early adopters have the opportunity to lock in advantages that will be enormously difficult to challenge.


Bookmark this report  


Download report translations

Talking points
Enormous potential
Quantum computing is expected to help develop breakthrough products and services that will disrupt and redefine manufacturing.
Business advantage
Chemical discovery, product development, and process optimization are among the manufacturing areas likely to witness major innovations with quantum computing.
Substantial impact
Early adopters have the opportunity to lock in advantages that will be enormously difficult to challenge.
Categorizing potential quantum computing use cases in manufacturing
Here, we explore potential use cases for manufacturing in each of four categories–discover, design, control, and supply:
Discover
It’s no secret that today’s classical computers struggle with modeling even moderately sized molecules with complete chemical accuracy. Quantum computing, with its exponentially large state space, should provide comprehensive modeling of very sophisticated molecules that can dramatically benefit materials and drug development.
If and when a quantum computer is built using 275 qubits, it could represent more computational states than there are atoms in the known universe.
Today, there are about 15 million known chemical structures and 300,000 materials. Many more beneficial substances wait to be discovered. Every day, nature produces materials with astonishing properties that industrial manufacturing processes can’t duplicate. For example, by weight, spider silk is stronger than steel and is made at body temperature rather than forged in a furnace. Its production generates only water as a by-product. Because spider silk is a protein made by DNA, quantum computing’s superior ability to model at a subatomic level might someday translate into our ability to manufacture a similar or enhanced material in an equally eco-friendly way.
Within the manufacturing realm, when quantum computing’s predicted capabilities come to fruition, automotive, aerospace, and electronics industries could benefit from:
— Materials with more advantageous strength-to-weight ratios
— Batteries that offer significantly higher energy densities
— More efficient synthetic and catalytic processes that could help with energy generation and carbon capture
Design
Today, many products are designed and pre-tested using computer simulation. Automotive and aerospace hardware components and subcomponents are 3D-modeled with individual engineering safety margins. These margins can accumulate, culminating in products that are over-engineered, overweight, or higher cost than necessary, which can stifle their commercial viability.
But, future quantum computers are expected to be able to simulate component interactions within complex hardware systems, more precisely and comprehensively calculating system loads, load paths, noise, and vibration. This integrated analysiscan optimize the manufacturingof individual components in the context of the overall system, reducing the cumulative impact of numerous individual safety margins and improving cost without sacrificing overall system performance.
Bits and qubits
In classical computing, the bit is the basic unit of information with only two possible states: 0 or 1. In contrast, the qubit is the basic unit of quantum information. A qubit can be in superposition of 0 and 1, allowing it to represent more information than a classical bit. A quantum computer’s exponentially sized state space is then created through the entanglement of qubits with each other.
Control
Modern control processes in manufacturing test the limits of advanced analytics, especially when employing machine learning and analyzing multiple variables.
Quantum computing might help find new correlations in data, enhance pattern recognition, and advance classification beyond the capabilities of classical computing. The combination of quantum computing and machine learning, as well as its application to optimization, is expected to have significant impact in manufacturing in several areas:
— Semiconductor chip fabrication already uses machine learning and simple multi-variable analysis. But, classical computing has hit a computational wall and can’t increase the number of factors for more complex analysis. It’s expected that quantum computing might analyze additional interactive factors and processes to increase production yield.
— Production flows and robotics scheduling for complex products, such as automobiles, are highly complex, and their simulation and optimization is very compute intensive. Quantum computing might enable faster optimization runs and allow production to perform optimizations more dynamically.
– As product functionality becomes increasingly software-defined, quality control for software development relies on progressively sophisticated software validation, verification, and fault analysis. A modern high-end car might have 100 million lines of code, even more than a new commercial airliner. Future quantum computers should have the capability to analyze software systems substantially more complex than classical computers could possibly evaluate today.
Supply
Supply chains are shifting from a linear model with discrete, sequential, event-driven processes to a more responsive organic model based on evolving real-time market demands and up-to-the-minute availability of key components. Adding to the digital supply chain toolbox of Industry 4.0, quantum computing potentially could accelerate decision-making and enhance risk management to lower operational costs,as well as reduce lost sales because of out-of-stock or discontinued products. Enhancing competitive agility, quantum computing might completely transform the supply chain over time, adaptively redesigning it to optimize vendor orders and accompanying logistics using dynamic near-real-time decision-making based on changing market demands.
More than a quadrillion
The largest quantum computers have around 50 qubits, giving them about 2^50 computational states. “Two to the fifty” equates to a state space of 1,125,899,906,842,624 states. This means that quantum computers might be able to use solution spaces many orders of magnitude larger than even the most powerful classical supercomputers.
Better, faster, safer production
Quantum computing is set to become a key instrument of transformation for manufacturers. With its anticipated impact on product development and design, manufacturing processes, and supply chain activities, it might provide a decisive edge to early adopters who embrace their quantum future now.
How can a manufacturer get started?
1. Challenge quantum champions in your organization to experiment with actual quantum computers and explore the potential applications of quantum computing for your specific industry. To help focus on your highest-value problems, have your quantum champions report to a quantum steering committee that includes line- of-business executives and market strategists.
2. Prioritize potential quantum computing use cases according to their potential for attaining business advantage—given your organization’s business strategy, associated customer value propositions, and future growth plans. Keep an eye on progress in quantum application development to stay in the vanguard of which use cases might be commercialized sooner rather than later.
3. Consider partnering with an emerging quantum ecosystem of like-minded research labs and academic institutions, quantum technology providers, quantum application developers and coders, and start-ups with supporting technologies. Include organizations with similar challenges to gain immediate access to an entire quantum computing stack capable of developing and running quantum algorithms specific to your business needs. Look for breakthroughs in quantum technology that might necessitate a change in ecosystem partners.