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Building a quantum-based travel optimisation solution

The team built a multi-factor travel optimisation solution to showcase the business readiness of quantum computing.

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Objectivity is an international technology company with offices in the UK, Poland, Germany, and Mauritius. The organisation is focused on creating win-win partnerships with clients from multiple industries, while focusing on excellence and sustainability. As of May 2023, Objectivity is officially part of Accenture.

Industry IT
Technology Quantum Computing

Key Achievements

  • A flexible travel optimisation solution that encompasses time, cost, and environmental impact
  • Evidence that quantum computing can already solve real-life problems
  • A complete solution built during a 2-day hackathon

The challenge 

Business Need

As an innovative organisation, Objectivity puts significant focus on analysing quantum computing in order to identify its level of business readiness for various use cases. The in-house quantum team decided to use the company’s annual IdeaAPP_ hackathon as an opportunity to build an optimisation solution that would utilise quantum computing at its core.

Since Objectivity has offices in several countries on 2 different continents, travelling between locations can be costly and unsustainable, As such the quantum team decided to create a prototype of a solution that would aim to optimise the company’s business travel arrangements in a way that would reduce costs and minimise environmental impact.

Making sure that, within a set timeframe, the user will be able to visit all of the company’s offices, meet everyone they need to meet, and do it all while minimising expenses, time, and their carbon footprint is a computationally difficult problem. That’s what made it a perfect candidate for a quantum annealer.

The solution

Project Details

The solution created during the IdeaApp_ hackathon consists of several elements. First of all, there’s the quantum portion of the application. It utilises D-Wave’s cloud-based quantum computing to perform the necessary calculations and an algorithm created by the project team.

Since a working solution had to be finished within 2 days of the hackathon, time was a crucial factor. To accommodate this need, the team turned to an existing framework — Streamlit — which accelerated the development. To calculate the optimal flights, the solution needed a source of flight data — this information is extracted from Google Flights. Finally, the application can check employees’ availability and schedule meetings.

The application allows the user to select the start and end point as well as the timeframe of their journey. They can also assign varying priorities to the three optimisation criteria included in the app: cost, time, and carbon footprint.

After submitting this information, the optimal travel plan is calculated, and the user is redirected to the summary screen. It contains the flight plan, the list of people the user will be able to meet, a percentage score in the three key metrics, and a visual representation of the journey on a map. If the plan is not satisfactory, the user can change their input and receive another summary screen.

Overall, the solution is lean, easy to use and quick. It’s a great example of how present-day quantum computers can solve real-life problems.


The results

Business Benefits

The travel optimisation solution was successfully developed during the hackathon. It’s capable of producing flight plans that support multiple success criteria, allowing the user to customise their priorities. An implementation of this solution can help the organisation schedule business travel in a way that’s cost-sensitive, time-efficient, and minimises environmental impact.

Additionally, the development of the application also helped to achieve the goal of showcasing quantum computing’s business readiness. The solution performs very well on a complex, multi-factor optimisation problem, providing an example of the real value that quantum technology can bring to businesses.

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