Cambridge Quantum Computing (CQC) had previously announced in April 2020 they were working with Nippon Steel in the areas of material science and optimization. Nippon Steel is the world’s third largest steel producer by volume as of 2019 with revenues in 2019 of ¥6.177 trillion (about $56 billion USD). They manufacture 50 million metric tons of steel in 2019 and, as one can imagine, optimizing scheduling and efficiency for the manufacturing process is very complex task. The specific problem that they have been working on is to optimize the scheduling for intermediate products used during the steel manufacturing process. There are numerous considerations and constraints that must be taken into account including orders, deadlines, raw material availability, specifications, cost, etc. CQC was able to demonstrate the ability to perform this optimization on a representative problem using the Honeywell H1 quantum computer. Although this solution isn’t ready yet for use in a production environment due to the limited size of the current generation of quantum computers, it can be scaled up for use in a production environment once more powerful quantum computers are available and help Nippon Steel improve its steel production efficiencies. For additional information about this collaboration between CQC, Honeywell and Nippon Steel, you can view a news release available on the Honeywell website here.
June 26, 2021