Pasqal and Thales Work On Quantum Processing in Satellite Planning

Pasqal and Thales Work On Quantum Processing in Satellite Planning

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Pasqal, a leading quantum computing company that develops neutral atoms quantum processors in 2D and 3D arrays to bring the realisation of practical quantum computing applications in solving real-world problems has partnered with Thales, a global leader in advanced technologies covering areas such as Defence & Security, Aeronautics & Space, and Cybersecurity & Digital identity to experiment the application of neutral atom quantum processing in handling challenges associated with satellite planning.

Pasqal and Thales make significant progress in the application of neutral atom quantum processing in satellite planning

The AQUAPS project as it is called, explored neutral atom architectures to optimize satellite planning processes and has shown immense potential in its capability in handling these planning and scheduling processes. 

For the last three years, Pascal and Thales have worked on this problem using Pasqal’s quantum processing units (QPUs). They have received support from the Île-de-France region and GENCI on this quest for positive results.

The project was designed such that the challenges that were explored were extremely difficult and took a long processing time when solved by classical supercomputers specifically in the areas of satellite planning and scheduling.

For any project to be successful, planning (documentation of all policies and procedures required to successfully carry out a mission or project) and scheduling (creating operational timelines from documented project plans) are key knowledge areas that must be calculated properly and with high precision to achieve the right goals. 

For satellite technology, planning and scheduling can be quite complex hence the application of quantum algorithms in checking the feasibility of managing satellite planning and scheduling in air traffic control, industrial automation, resource allocation, and disaster recovery assistance. 

By leveraging neutral atom quantum processing units, the teams at Pasqal and Thales worked tirelessly to see whether quantum technology could be applied to scale up and solve problems at a pace and precision never seen by classical computers.

This work was successful as the teams were able to solve a satellite planning problem on the QPU. This showed that neutral atoms quantum processing units are well suited to solve this problem as there existed a natural correspondence between the satellite planning problem and the arrangement of atoms in the Quantum Processing Unit (QPU).

This correspondence enables an efficient method for solving optimisation problems, providing new perspectives in advanced satellite planning. Georges-Olivier Reymond, CEO and Co-founder of Pasqal said, “We are extremely proud of the achievements of our collaboration with Thales, GENCI, and the Île-de-France region in the AQUAPS project. This partnership has demonstrated the power of quantum computing in solving real-world optimisation problems, opening up new perspectives for the space industry and beyond.”

Frédéric Barbaresco, Quantum Algorithms & Computing Segment Leader at Thales, said, “This close collaboration, financed by the Île-de-France region quantum plan and with the support of GENCI, not only allows Thales to accelerate the maturation of a space use case described by Thales Alenia Space (France & Italy) in the Quantum Computing for Earth Observation (QC4EO) study of the European Space Agency (ESA) but also opens the prospect of other collaborations with Pasqal to study scaling up for effective operational implementation.”

Truly, quantum processors and algorithms may be the hack for many complex problems of today and the future. As Pasqal and Thales are working to enable the full-scale application of neutral atom quantum processing units in satellite planning, it is only a matter of time before it is applied to every field that Thales is playing in.

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