British Defence gets into Quantum Computing as it partners with PA Consulting for faster decision making

Quantum Computing And British Defence

The Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) is working with PA Consulting to develop prototype tools using advanced quantum computing principles to improve decision-making in defence and security.

These tools aim to optimize resources, lower risk, and keep people safe. The solutions proposed are rooted in a hybrid of classical and quantum computing techniques that have been transferred from the financial sector to defence-related challenges. This work is expected to play a vital role in improving many decision-making processes across the MOD, positioning the UK at the forefront of practical quantum algorithm development. Additionally, the work will enhance the quality of decision-making by providing a tool that enables people to rapidly explore trade-offs involved in decision-making and make faster operational decisions in a complex environment.

Defence Use-Cases and Implementation

The PA Consulting and Dstl teams have been working on testing and learning which challenges quantum computing can solve. They identified 22 possible use cases and narrowed these down to two to explore the possibilities. Both aimed to solve problems that rapidly scale to a complexity beyond the capability of humans or classical computing solutions. These use cases were then transformed into mathematical formulations required for a quantum computer, and run on Amazon Braket, Amazon’s quantum computing service, to produce a hybrid solution using both classical and quantum computing techniques. This approach allowed for efficient exploration of trade-offs, producing a wide range of solutions for decision-making and providing the human impact essential for sound decision-making.

Pushing the UK forward

PA Consulting and the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) have been working together to position the UK’s Ministry of Defence (MOD) at the forefront of exploiting developments in quantum technology. Their work has shown that today’s Noisy Intermediate Scale Quantum (NISQ) processing technology can enhance complex decision-making, resulting in better and faster key decision pathways. DSTL will continue to invest in quantum computing solutions and hardware to mature real-world use cases and develop further applications that will ultimately save time, money and lives by making better decisions faster. This work has also opened up a valuable and strategically significant opportunity for the UK to become a world leader in sectors beyond defence.

What we needed to show is that quantum computing potential can be tapped, and that this new disruptive technology can begin to address today’s optimisation and operational challenges, regardless of market sector.

Paul Martin, PA quantum technology expert
  • PA Consulting has worked with the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) and the Ministry of Defence (MOD) to create prototype tools using advanced quantum principles and elements of human decision-making.
  • The goal is to improve decision-making processes across MOD, lowering risk, optimising resources, and to keep people safer.
  • The work has applied advanced quantum principles to the challenge of making operational decisions better, faster and with more human impact, created real-world demonstrations of the potential for today’s quantum computing to address today’s military operational challenges, improving the quality of decision-making by providing a tool enabling people to explore the trade-offs involved in decision-making rapidly.
  • The work is funded by the MOD’s Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA)
  • This work is expected to position the UK at the forefront of practical quantum algorithm development.

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