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Accenture Wins US Quantum Computing Patent

December 26, 2018

Accenture has been granted a US patent for a “multi-state quantum optimization engine” that leverages quantum computing technology to help organizations optimize business decision making with unprecedented efficiency and effectiveness.

Quantum computing has the potential to solve complex business problems millions of times faster than classical computing by leveraging the properties of quantum physics to process multiple computing tasks in parallel. Accenture’s new patent — U.S. Patent No. 10,095,981 — reveals how businesses could take advantage of the best aspects of both classical and quantum computing techniques to enable breakthrough solutions to problems that couldn’t be solved before.

Accenture’s patent describes an optimization engine that helps organizations identify a broader range of solutions to business challenges. By running multiple simulations at the same time, the optimal outcome can be identified, improving business decision-making and operational efficiency.

For example,

Discovering new, potentially life-saving therapies for diseases requires pharmaceutical companies to process millions of chemical formulations and it can take decades to find a breakthrough. The solution described in the patent could be used to help drug companies explore exponentially more combinations based on past experiences, ultimately speeding the time it takes to bring new treatments to market. This capability could also help expedite rational drug design, which is the process of developing new medications based on the known structures and functions of a specific molecule.

For large-scale supply chain distributors, the challenge of deciding which trucks should go to which distribution centers to pick up what cargo to bring to which stores can be addressed for one or two carefully specified – and often simplified – scenarios using current solutions. With the solution described in the patent, a distributor could explore significantly more scenarios, asking and answering new and different kinds of questions to better understand the implications of adjusting the number of trucks or frequency of deliveries so an optimal decision can be made.

“We recognize the significant potential that quantum computing has to fundamentally disrupt how organizations across industries operate, and we’re committed to actively helping to shape the future for how it’s applied to create business value,” said Paul Daugherty, Accenture’s chief technology & innovation officer. “Our quantum computing optimization engine patent is the latest example of how we’re strategically investing in and harnessing this technology to deliver tangible results.”

The patent is one of the most recent in Accenture’s robust global intellectual property portfolio and builds on years of quantum investments, partnerships and R&D efforts. For example, earlier this year Accenture joined a worldwide community of partners working to advance quantum computing, enabling Accenture to rapidly scale its quantum programs and better connect with organizations that are pushing the boundaries in this field. In 2017 Accenture entered into a strategic alliance with 1QBit, a leading quantum computing firm, and the two collaborated with Biogen to develop a first-of-its-kind quantum-enabled molecular comparison application to exponentially speed up drug discovery.

“In rapidly shifting markets, companies need to be able to predict their next best action both quickly and precisely,”said Narendra Mulani, chief analytics officer, Accenture Applied Intelligence. “Integrating both classical and quantum computing devices could allow organizations to run simulations at a massive scale to determine best possible outcomes. It’s a truly visionary concept — clients can apply it to solving optimization tasks from a wide range of applications, such as machine learning, information security, pattern recognition, image analysis, and bioinformatics.”

The patent for the multi-state quantum optimization engine was co-invented by Andy Fano, managing director at Accenture Labs; Dan Garrison, managing director at Accenture Digital; and Jurgen Weichenberger, managing director at Accenture Applied Intelligence.

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