Quantum Computing

VINCI Energies, QuantumBasel Uses Quantum D-Wave Technology to Study HVAC Systems

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Insider Summary

  • QuantumBasel and VINCI Energies will work on research and development of a series of quantum hybrid applications.
  • One of the challenges the team plans to overcome is a computationally difficult part of the HVAC design process called “network generation”.
  • QuantumBasel is Switzerland’s first quantum hub for commercial use and VINCI Energies is an environmental accelerator and digital transition.

PRESS RELEASE — QuantumBasel, Switzerland’s first quantum hub for commercial use embedded at its uptownBasel innovation campus, is launching a quantum pilot project with VINCI Energies, an accelerator of environmental and digital transitions. With D-Wave as their technology partner, QuantumBasel and VINCI Energies will work on the research and development of a range of quantum hybrid applications. The collaboration will use a D-Wave annealed quantum computer and a hybrid quantum solver via the Leap™ quantum cloud service to provide VINCI Energies real-time access to quantum solutions.

VINCI Energies Use Cases

One of the many challenges you face when constructing a building is the design of a heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system. HVAC system design involves several steps to maximize user comfort, minimize environmental burden and reduce material costs. One of the final steps in the HVAC design process is called “grid generation”. This step ensures that all HVAC elements are connected properly while meeting safety and sustainability requirements. While this step is very important, it is also a step that is computationally very expensive or even expensive.

To solve this computing bottleneck, VINCI Energies has developed a data-driven approach under their AI initiative supported by the VINCI Leonard innovation program. This approach dramatically reduces computation time and subsequent manual adjustments. However, network generation issues fall into the category of combinatorial optimization problems that scale very poorly on conventional devices such as CPUs or GPUs.

The quantum computing approach has 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 computation time and lower costs) of the resulting HVAC network solutions.

The VINCI Energies quantum proof-of-concept – approximately six months in duration – is divided into two phases: The problem formulation phase is followed by the implementation and experimentation phases. During the current problem formulation phase, they have translated the HVAC network generation problem – a key part of the overall HVAC design process – into a well-defined form that can be understood by a D-Wave hybrid system. This required multiple iterations between HVAC subject matter experts VINCI Energies and quantum code developer D-Wave to derive and investigate some representative model formulations. In addition, the team has prepared and customized several HVAC data sets and selected a customized model evaluation and business metrics to then optimize and measure the quality of the inferred HVAC network solution.

VINCI Energies, uptownBasel and D-Wave have now reached the stage where they have two model formulations to be used for experiments during the initial phase of the second phase.

VINCI Energy & QuantumBasel

After identifying clear use cases, VINCI Energies decided to explore the capabilities that quantum computing offers compared to classical computing, as well as how this could be scaled in the future for other areas and challenges of the company. QuantumBasel not only offers VINCI Energies direct and seamless access to D-Wave quantum technology, but also provides access to the Quantum community and network, driving its internal culture of innovation forward. VINCI Energies’ collaboration with D-Wave and QuantumBasel demonstrates its commitment to entering the Quantum Age, a collective journey that brings together academia and industry under QuantumBasel’s vision to democratize quantum power.

Quote

“At VINCI Energies, we design and build facilities that help improve everyday life and mobility for all, while keeping sustainability and environmental responsibility in mind,” 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 building construction and operation and are very excited to deploy a D-Wave quantum solution to support that effort.”

“D-Wave, VINCI Energies and uptownBasel share the same vision to accelerate digitalization for the betterment of industry and society,” said Damir Bogdan, CEO of uptownBasel Infinity Corp. “This collaboration reflects a shared focus on accelerating the adoption of new technologies – and in particular, practical quantum computing solutions – to usher in a new era of industrial construction.”

“Construction projects present many optimization challenges that can lead to cost overruns and delays in building completion if not adequately addressed,” said Dr. Alan Baratz, CEO of D-Wave. “We believe today’s hybrid quantum technology can help solve these complex computing problems to drive efficiencies and streamline building processes, and look forward to working closely with VINCI Energies and uptownBasel to bring quantum to construction.”

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