Engineers with the BMI Corporation and SmartTruck Systems ran models on Jaguar and Titan, two of the fastest supercomputers in the world available for open science projects.Truck models were put through computational fluid dynamics simulations, which were verified to accurately predict airflow within a tenth of an inch on a real vehicle. They also applied a genetic algorithm that mimicked the process of natural selection to optimize their design.
The work resulted in a trailer undercarriage tray that reduced drag and brought fuel savings of 6 percent. With additional refinements and components behind the trailer tandems and on the trailer’s sides, the 300-pound SmartTruck system can achieve 10 percent fuel savings.
Ray Johnson, Lockheed’s chief technical officer, said his company would
use the quantum computer to create and test complex radar, space and
aircraft systems. It could be possible, for example, to tell instantly
how the millions of lines of software running a network of satellites
would react to a solar burst or a pulse from a nuclear explosion —
something that can now take weeks, if ever, to determine.
“This is a revolution not unlike the early days of computing,” he said.
“It is a transformation in the way computers are thought about.” Many
others could find applications for D-Wave’s computers. Cancer
researchers see a potential to move rapidly through vast amounts of
genetic data. The technology could also be used to determine the
behavior of proteins in the human genome, a bigger and tougher problem
than sequencing the genome. Researchers at Google have worked with
D-Wave on using quantum computers to recognize cars and landmarks, a
critical step in managing self-driving vehicles.