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October 5, 2023

Navigating the Quantum Cloud: Interviewing Terra Quantum CPO Dr. Florian Neukart

Unlocking the next-gen of computational possibilities

QaaS is still in its early days. But as it continues to gain traction, understanding its foundational pillars becomes indispensable. We recently sat down with Dr. Florian Neukart of Terra Quantum, a pioneering Quantum as a Service (QaaS) company, to delve into the intricacies of quantum algorithms, computing, and security. From optimizing intricate algorithms that classical computers struggle with to ensuring ultra-secure encryption methods, he shares some valuable insights. After partnering with industry giants in the banking and automotive sectors, we discuss the latest partnership with Honda and the future of car tech safety with this unparalleled computational power.

Neil: Can you highlight some of the key innovations your company has brought to the market?

Florian: At Terra Quantum, we’re on the forefront of the quantum tech revolution. We offer groundbreaking Quantum as a Service (QaaS) solutions across Quantum Algorithms, Computing, and Security.

On the algorithms side, we have led the industry in embracing hybrid quantum computing. Our quantum software algorithms are designed in a way to enable execution on existing conventional computing hardware architectures, as well as native quantum computing ones. This enables us to tackle some of the most complex challenges facing a variety of industries today, while already delivering performance benefits. These performance benefits increase over time, as native quantum computing hardware matures.

In the realm of financial services, we recently announced our partnership with HSBC. We are delving into the possibilities of hybrid quantum technologies to optimize aspects of financial services. A focal point of our collaboration is addressing intricate challenges such as collateral optimization. We’re striving to unlock significant economic value and streamline financial operations, which ultimately contributes to the technological transformation of the sector.

Turning to the energy sector, our collaboration with German energy giant Uniper focuses on promoting efficiency and helping to accelerate the energy transition. We are employing quantum technologies to optimize liquid natural gas (LNG) logistics and accurately predict CO2 emissions in biomass plants. Additionally, we are exploring the enhancement of complex derivatives' valuation in energy trading.

In healthcare and life sciences, we’re channelling the unparalleled computing power of quantum technologies for advancements in cancer research and personalized medicine. For example, we have developed a solution that can accurately predict the effectiveness of various drugs on a broad range of cancer cell lines (sub-types). We’re deeply intent on fostering cutting-edge innovations in healthcare that can address critical public health challenges and vastly improve patient outcomes.

Neil: Escape routing is a significant concern in emergency scenarios. How does your technology identify and suggest the safest escape routes for drivers in real-time?

Florian: Collaborating with Honda Research Institute Europe, we have employed Quantum ML solutions to optimise disaster routing. We use our unique IP and algorithms to provide dynamic optimal escape routes. A key benefit of our solution is its adaptability to evolving scenario, even when information about traffic flows, road closures and blocked escape routes, etc, is limited.

In our solution, we need to have a digital representation of the map of a city or area. Then, given information about an event such as an earthquake, we determine the optimal route for entry into a safe zone. Our solution also considers the distribution of traffic and congestion at certain choke points, etc. Our solution is particularly adept at dealing with a live earthquake and predicting and reacting to traffic build up in certain areas. In our work, we have seen promising results, in comparison to alternative conventional approaches.

In our algorithmic approach, we used a novel, proprietary, quantum feature-wise linear modulation (FiLM) neural network approach, which boosted the performance of the overall algorithm. Our algorithm can run on simulated Quantum Processing Units (QPUs) and on native Quantum Processing Units. It was successfully tested on the IonQ Aria QPU.

Neil: How do your safety features integrate with existing vehicle systems, and how do you ensure compatibility across different car models and brands?

Florian: The algorithm we have developed is agnostic of specific vehicle systems, car models and brands. The operational details of how our algorithm can interface with these vehicle systems will need to be determined as part of future work. Terra Quantum's partnerships with global automotive conglomerates such as Honda and Volkswagen serve to bring transformative quantum solutions to the entire automotive industry. We don’t want to limit advancements to a particular segment.

This adaptability is pivotal in ensuring that our quantum solutions are accessible and applicable industry-wide, promoting enhanced safety and efficiency across the spectrum of automotive technology.

Neil: How do you ensure that your safety tech features are user-friendly and do not add complexity for the driver, thereby diverting their attention from the road?

Florian: The potential for integration with existing navigation systems means that these systems can be leveraged. Furthermore the responsibility for sharing the additional information with the driver, without causing distraction would typically be the responsibility of the automotive OEMs.

Neil: How do you see car tech safety evolving in the next 5-10 years, and what role does your company hope to play in that evolution?

Florian: We are standing at the precipice of a transformative evolution in automotive technology, where quantum technologies are positioned to be pivotal. As automotive companies transition from selling commodity products to offering mobility solutions, quantum technologies will be dealing with the additional complexities and computational challenges that come with this transition. From route navigation, through to predicting flows of people and vehicles, inter-vehicle interactions, autonomous driving in complex scenarios, there are a wide range of scenarios where quantum computing can accelerate the pace of innovation and enhance safety standards.

Terra Quantum is deeply embedded in this transformation, working closely with industry giants Honda Research Institute and Volkswagen Data Lab to redefine mobility and significantly enhance safety. Our innovative approach improves operations, supply chains, design quality, and efficiency. We’re strident in our mission to shape the future of mobility for the better, ensuring automotive companies are well-positioned to lead in providing mobility-as-a-service.

Neil: Are you partnering with any other companies, research institutions, or organizations to further enhance and develop your safety technologies?

Florian: We have a diverse range of partnerships, including with HSBC, Uniper, Volkswagen, Thales, Evonik, and Cirdan Capital. We’re demonstrating the versatility of our approach in addressing complex challenges across sectors.

On safety technologies specifically, our partnership with Volkswagen has opened new doors. We’ve worked on improving image recognition, a crucial tool for the safety of self-driving cars and for spotting issues during the manufacturing process. By developing a unique learning algorithm, combining both quantum and classical computing, we are enabling cars to interpret their environment quicker and more effectively.

Neil: Can you share any insights or results from real-world tests of your technologies, particularly any situations where they’ve proven critical in ensuring safety?

Florian: Our collaboration with Thales Group in satellite mission planning optimization yielded a remarkable 98.5% completion rate on high-priority tasks. This optimization is crucial as it enhances the reliability and efficiency of earth observation satellites, which are pivotal for weather forecasting, navigation, and environmental and security monitoring. Our success here ensures that satellites can provide timely and accurate data to the agencies responsible for these functions.

Neil Hodgson Coyle
Neil Hodgson-Coyle
Editorial chief at TechNews180
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