Sometimes a real world challenge can help quantum application developers advance their skills and technologies in ways that might not be the same as when they are only looking at various theoretical problems. With that in mind, BMW has issued a quantum computing challenge contest that is four specific problems they see in their automotive business. Airbus did a similar thing a few years ago when they issued their own quantum computing challenge that revolved upon issues associated with their aviation business. The specific problems that BMW has posed include the following:

  1. Optimisation of sensor positions for automated driving functions
  2. Simulation of material deformation in the production process
  3. Optimisation of pre-production vehicle configuration
  4. Machine Learning for automated quality assessment

In order to facilitate this project, BMW will be working with Amazon Web Services (AWS) that will allow contestants to develop and try out their solutions on one of the quantum platforms supported by AWS Braket including those from D-Wave, Rigetti, IonQ or one of the high performance quantum circuit simulators. As an additional incentive to contestants, AWS will be providing Braket usage credits of $500 in Round 1 and $3750 in Round 2 for those groups that request them.

The timeline for the challenge can be seen in the diagram below.

BMW Challenge Timeline, Credit: BMW

The challenge will proceed in two rounds. The first round and registration has started and will continue until September 24, 2021. During this period groups will prepare and submit a concept proposal for creating a quantum program that helps solve one of the four use cases. A judging panel, including domain experts from BMW and AWS will take about three weeks to evaluate the proposals and then select 12 finalists (with a target of 3 for each use case) that will be announced on October 15, 2021. The finalists will then have about six weeks until November 29, 2021 to develop proof-of-concept demonstrations for verification of their solutions and then make presentations about their solutions on December 6-7, 2021. The winner will be announced at the Q2B Conference being held in Silicon Valley, California between December 7-9, 2021. The winning team will be able to participate in a follow-on project from BMW for further implementation of their solution.

The challenge is open to groups from legal entities such as universities, research institutions or commercial companies. A private person cannot enter alone, but must be associated with an organization. Additional information about BMW’s Quantum Computing Challenge is available in a press release located on the BMW website here, a blog post on the AWS website here, a page on BMW’s Open Innovation website here, detailed descriptions of the use cases along with associated datasets here, and an FAQ page here.

July 13, 2021