VINCI Energies and QuantumBasel launch a pilot project with D-Wave’s quantum technology
QuantumBasel, Switzerland’s first quantum hub for commercial use embedded in the uptownBasel innovation campus, launches a quantum pilot project with VINCI Energies, an accelerator of environmental and digital transition. With D-Wave as its technology partner, QuantumBasel and VINCI Energies will work on the research and development of a series of quantum-hybrid applications. The collaboration will use D-Wave’s annealing quantum computers and quantum hybrid solvers through the Leap™ quantum cloud service to provide VINCI Energies with real-time access to quantum solutions.
One of the many challenges you face when constructing a building is the design of the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system. The design of the HVAC system involves several steps to maximize user comfort, minimize environmental burden and reduce cost of materials. One of the last steps in the HVAC design process is called “network generation”. This step ensures that all HVAC elements are correctly connected while complying with safety and sustainability requirements. While this step is of crucial importance it is also a step that is computationally very expensive or even prohibitive.
To tackle this computational bottleneck, VINCI Energies has developed a data-driven approach under their AI initiatives supported by VINCI’s Leonard innovation program. This approach dramatically reduces compute time and subsequent manual adjustments. However, the network generation problem falls into a category of combinatorial optimization problems that scale very badly on conventional devices such as CPUs or GPUs.
Quantum computing approaches have the potential to solve certain combinatorial optimization problems more efficiently than purely conventional approaches. This is why VINCI Energies has started a collaboration with uptownBasel and D-Wave to investigate if / when / how they can further improve the quality (shorter compute time and lower costs) of the generated HVAC network solutions.
VINCI Energies’ quantum proof of concept – with a timeline of roughly six months – is divided into two phases: The problem formulation phase followed by the implementation and experimentation phase. During the current problem formulation phase, they have been translating the HVAC network generation problem – an essential part of the overall HVAC design process – into a well-defined form that D-Wave’s hybrid systems can understand. This has required several iterations between VINCI Energies´ HVAC subject matter experts and D-Wave’s quantum code developers to derive and investigate several representative model formulations. In addition, the team has prepared and adjusted multiple HVAC data
sets and chosen tailored model evaluation and business metrics to later optimize and quantify the quality of the inferred HVAC network solutions.
VINCI Energies, uptownBasel and D-Wave have now reached a stage where they have two model formulations that are going to be used for experimentation during the early stages of the second phase.
VINCI Energies & QuantumBasel
After identifying a clear use case, VINCI Energies decided to explore the capabilities that quantum computing offers compared to classical computing, as well as how this can be scaled in the future for other areas and challenges of the company. QuantumBasel not only offered VINCI Energies direct and seamless access to D-Wave’s quantum technology, but it also provided access to its Quantum community and network, pushing its internal innovation culture forward. VINCI Energies´ collaboration with D-Wave and QuantumBasel exemplifies its commitment to entering the Quantum Era, a collective journey that brings together academia and industry under QuantumBasel’s vision of democratizing the power of quantum.
“At VINCI Energies, we design and build facilities that help improve daily life and mobility for all, with a constant eye on sustainability and environmental responsibility,” said Dr. Reinhard Schlemmer, Member of the Board of VINCI Energies. “We believe that today’s quantum technology can play a key role in ensuring optimal and efficient construction and operation of buildings and are eager to use D-Wave’s quantum solutions in support of that effort.”
“D-Wave, VINCI Energies and uptownBasel possess a common vision to accelerate digitalization for the betterment of industry and society,” said Damir Bogdan, CEO of uptownBasel Infinity Corp. “This collaboration reflects that shared focus on accelerating the adoption of emerging technologies – and specifically, practical quantum computing solutions – to usher in a new era of industrial construction.”
“Construction projects feature a multitude of optimization challenges that can contribute to cost overruns and delayed building completions when not adequately addressed,” said Dr. Alan Baratz, CEO of D-Wave. “We believe today’s quantum-hybrid technologies can help solve these computationally complex problems to drive efficiencies and streamline building processes and look forward to working with VINCI Energies and uptownBasel to bring quantum to construction.