PPE Logistical Nightmare
Fujitsu, a leading Japanese information and communication technology company, has partnered with early-stage deep technology startup Entanglement, Inc. to demonstrate and verify the capabilities of its quantum-inspired computing platform Digital Annealer (DA). This partnership will help tackle complex and wide-reaching logistical combinatorial optimization issues connected to the COVID-19 pandemic and other dilemmas we face in the coming years.
Formed in the spring of 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic was in full swing and the planet was in total lockdown, Fujitsu and Entanglement’s partnership aims to put Fujitsu’s world-class intellectual property and Digital Annealer technology in line with Entanglement’s proprietary IP and purpose-built laboratory, creating a situation where their combined technology can answer some of the most intractable, human-centric dilemmas on the planet while serving the customer.
One area of major concern during the pandemic has been with the issuing of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to the institutions and people that need it. Without the need to mince words, it has been a massive logistical headache for those logistical agencies in charge of the supply of PPE.
In light of this, a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) with the Department of Defense, Fujitsu and Entanglement teamed up to build an optimization model — designed to minimize the time and distance travelled — that will answer the problems in regard to allocation of available medical resources to points of delivery across the United States.
According to a report drawn up by the CRADA, the Digital Annealer solution can solve this extremely complex and combinatorial problem in a matter of seconds. This is in contrast to, CRADA believes, a time span of days or weeks for alternative algorithms based on classical computers. What is more, CRADA’s report findings also revealed the Digital Annealer outperformed a comparative ‘Evolutionary Algorithm’ by 90 percent by making use of real-time data from various public and private sources, which — with the input of different variables and large-scale datasets — improved results exponentially.
The Best Part…
“Traditional logistics tools are simply too slow and incapable of managing the complexities of these huge combinatorial problems,” said Jason Turner, CEO of Entanglement, Inc. “Fujitsu’s Digital Annealing technology and related services, in combination with our advanced computational and quantum computing expertise, not only solve these problems quickly, but do so in a way that is scalable, effective, iterative, equitable, and transparent. The best part? The more complex the problem, the more it shines, producing ever more accurate and efficient results the more it’s stressed.”
Paul Warburton, Global Head of Mobility DX business at Fujitsu, said:
“While our initial collaborations centered on commercial prospects leveraging the emerging mobility ecosystem, the COVID-19 pandemic made it abundantly clear we needed to redeploy our conceptual thinking and quickly offer new models that accelerated our response to the virus. Both companies felt and embraced a deep responsibility to use our capabilities for good, and there is no area of greater need today than fighting this pandemic.”
The Digital Annealer solution, based on a ‘quantum-inspired’ model along with Fujitsu’s and Entanglement’s technological capabilities, could just be the panacea for not only solving the ongoing problems in transport and supply chain, but also in drug discovery, predictive modelling in the financial markets and portfolio optimization, and the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of deadly diseases.