Photograph of Pier 300 on the Port of Los Angeles exhibiting unloading of ships and containers within the storage yard. Credit score: Google Earth

Earlier this 12 months, we reported on a logistics optimization program at Pier 300 on the Port of Los Angeles carried out by a staff from SavantX and Fenix ​​Marine Companies to optimize logistics for the Pier 300 container terminal venture on the Port of Los Angeles. Port of Los Angeles, one of many largest delivery terminals in the USA. On the dock, delivery containers can be unloaded from ships and briefly positioned in a storage yard for later pickup. Later, vans got here to select up their particular person hundreds and an enormous cellular crane known as an RTG (Rubber Tire Gantry) moved to the situation of the container, picked it up and positioned it on the truck. The issue is that bottlenecks may happen on this course of and so they may have extreme RTG motion and vans may have a protracted wait time earlier than receiving their container.

The staff used a program from SavantX known as HONE (Hyper Optimization Nodal Effectivity) which used optimization algorithms on D-Wave quantum annealing and they’re now reporting enhancements starting from 30% to 60% as proven within the desk beneath beneath in response to the metric. These upgrades are value hundreds of thousands of {dollars}.

Enhancements to Quai 300 utilizing HONE. Credit score: D-Wave

We have seen lots of bulletins about quantum firms working with end-users, however once we take a more in-depth look, we see that the majority of them are within the analysis or proof-of-concept stage, however not in manufacturing. common. Generally firms do an experiment to point out that there’s some potential in utilizing quantum computing, however they by no means find yourself placing it into manufacturing. We wrote an article about this final 12 months titled The Final Mile May be the Hardest which explains a few of the challenges of bringing a quantum utility into manufacturing.

So we determined to interview the SavantX staff to know the standing and if this explicit app was in full manufacturing. We realized lots of issues. First, we found that the staff had been engaged on this venture for 3 years. The primary 18 months had been devoted to establishing an preliminary implementation and the next 18 months to optimizing the implementation. We additionally realized that this utility is certainly in full manufacturing. The app constantly optimizes logistics and is name D-Wave annealing roughly each 10 seconds for 2 shifts per day. In addition they reported that the reliability of the D-Wave techniques was excellent and that they’d hardly encountered any downtime points.

However we additionally realized that these enhancements weren’t nearly shifting from a classical optimization program to a quantum one. The staff put lots of effort into making a digital twin of dockside operations, absolutely understanding the logistics, figuring out an important parameters, and experimenting with completely different algorithms to find out which one labored the perfect. For instance, they discovered that when vans are queuing as much as decide up their load, utilizing a FIFO ordering them to select up their container is just not the easiest way to do it. In lots of circumstances, it might be higher to let the third or fourth truck within the line move, as it will decrease the actions of those RTG cranes. The RTG’s whole motion per day was one of many key metrics they found. In one other case, they discovered that when unloading an arriving ship, it’s not greatest to put all of that ship’s containers in the identical space of ​​the storage yard. It’s because a gaggle of vans choosing up the containers will create a bottleneck as they may all need to enter the identical space on the similar time to select up their hundreds. The staff then modified the algorithm to distribute container placement from a selected ship to many areas of the tank yard. This permits a number of vans to be dealt with in parallel when choosing up their hundreds.

Diagram of a few of the information flows and necessities that go into the HONE engine. 1 credit score

Thus, the query arises, using a quantum pc was the principle think about attaining the enhancements. In all probability not. We consider that the important thing think about these enhancements has been the work of making the digital twin, optimizing the algorithms and integrating the method into the procedures utilized by port operations personnel. May the staff have used a traditional optimization program to attain the identical outcome? Possibly. The staff has not accomplished an exhaustive evaluation of all the most recent traditional optimization options that exist. However they selected the D-Wave annealing resolution as a result of they knew it greatest and it labored effectively for his or her wants.

For quantum distributors, the lesson could also be that having an absolute quantum benefit over the perfect classical algorithms is just not at all times an absolute requirement for acquiring manufacturing income. However making it simpler for an finish consumer to make use of a quantum resolution may also help them acquire floor over the classical resolution, supplied it’s adequate. And the lesson for finish customers that merely shifting an answer from classical to quantum with out making additional modifications is probably not sufficient. As folks take a look at varied issues the place quantum might be used, it’s crucial to work with the subject material specialists and perceive how quantum matches into the entire system to attain the specified outcomes utilizing quantum know-how .

There’s good documentation and white papers that present extra info on this venture that we will advocate to readers. D-Wave has revealed a case examine which you could find on their web site right here. SavantX simply launched a 14-page white paper that they posted on LinkedIn right here. A webpage for the HONE software program is offered on the SavantX webpage right here. Moreover, D-Wave and SavantX held a webinar in Might 2022 on this venture and you could find the recording at Youtube right here.

November 26, 2022

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