Bosch’s new partnership aims to explore quantum digital twins

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Industrial giant Bosch has partnered with Multiverse Computing, a Spanish quantum software platform, to integrate quantum algorithms into digital twin simulation workflows. Bosch already has an extensive industrial simulation practice that provides insights across various business units. This new collaboration will explore ways quantum-inspired algorithms and computers could help scale these simulations more efficiently.

Bosch is exploring quantum computing and simulation as part of its broader Industry 4.0 efforts focused on increasing data collection, analytics and simulation across its 240 plants. These efforts have connected 120,000 machines used in manufacturing and over 250,000 devices into new digital twin workflows. 

Multiverse is building a quantum software platform that works across different quantum computing technologies. Although most quantum hardware is still immature, the company has already discovered several quantum-inspired algorithms that perform better than conventional ones and have made it easier to deploy both across current supercomputers and different quantum hardware. The two companies hope to see the initial results of these new quantum and quantum-inspired algorithms working in Bosch’s Madrid facility later this year, which could scale across its manufacturing facilities in the future. 

Accelerating industrial simulation

Oscar Hernández Caballer, the senior manager of digitalization and Industry 4.0 Bosch Plant Coordination, at the Bosch plant in Madrid, told VentureBeat that the company had come a long way toward fully digitizing its facilities. His team has been working on finding ways to use this data to make decisions and control processes more efficiently with very short reaction times. For example, they have reduced the cost of production scrap by more than 20% in the last three years. 

“Thanks to digitization, we can identify the causes of production problems much better and faster and establish corrective measures,” he said.

One of the most promising use cases for the new quantum algorithms is creating better machine learning models more quickly. Hernández Caballer said quantum computing shows tremendous promise in use cases with many combinations of parameters and materials. This early research could give Bosch a leg up in taking advantage of these new systems to improve machine learning and simulation.

Focus on business supremacy

Multiverse was founded in 2019 in a WhatsApp group by a small team of physicists and business experts. Enrique Lizaso Olmos, founder and CEO of Multiverse Computing, told VentureBeat that the company decided to focus on quantum computing in finance and published a seminal paper that caught the attention of large customers such as Crédit Agricole, BBVA, Caixabank, Ally Bank and Bank of Canada. Other paying customers came to Multiverse for help with complex problems in energy manufacturing, chemistry, life sciences, engineering and defense. 

Most of the industry has focused on achieving quantum supremacy that demonstrates ways that quantum hardware can outperform conventional computers. Olmos said this distracts from the potential for early quantum hardware to deliver real business value today. 

“So the real, difficult question is what can you do with the current, small, noisy quantum computers now that’s better than some other tools that your customers are using?” he asked. “This is the hard question that most of the companies in the quantum software side, coming from pure physics, don’t know how to answer. And this is where we shine.” 

Multiverse focuses only on those problems where they believe that quantum or quantum-inspired algorithms such as tensor networks or a combination of the two will beat existing business tools. Olmos observed that critics have argued these tools are not faster than a supercomputer, which is technically accurate. However, Multiverse simplifies supercomputer workflows for business users to develop, deploy and manage next-generation algorithms for business use cases such as portfolio optimization or regular machine learning training.

“We believe business supremacy will be here when quantum supremacy for business arrives, but again the challenge will be to beat your competitors,” said Olmos. 

The company has developed algorithms that speed AI training by more than one hundred times while reducing energy and memory use eighty times. Other companies focused on applying quantum computing to business applications include Google spinoff Sandbox AQ and Zapata. Olmos said a key differentiator is that Multiverse combines quantum and quantum-inspired solutions that the others are not currently pursuing.

Multiverse also offers Singularity, an enterprise-grade Software-as-a-Service platform that supports the development of apps without the need for quantum expertise.

“Singularity is quantum for the masses, not just for the physicists inside corporations,” Olmos said.

They have already developed low-code templates that support over 50 business use cases. 

Multiverse raised $10.25 million  (€10 million) last year from investors, including Quantonation, JME, Inveready, EASO VC, SPRI and Mondragon VC. In addition, the European Commission awarded the firm $2.6 million (€2.5 million) in grants and €10M in additional equity last year through the EIC Horizon Europe program. 

Bosch’s partnership with Multiverse Computing is an example of how many legacy companies are exploring quantum computing today to prepare for more capable hardware. Hernández Caballer said that his team is trying to anticipate the future so that they don’t get left behind.