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Norbert Riepl

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Telekom focuses on research into quantum technologies

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  • Focus on quantum computing and quantum AI
  • Focus on development and implementation of quantum algorithms
  • Fifteen partners and other participants in the PlanQK project 
A robot looks at a wall on which numerous formulas are written and the Bloch spehre is depicted.

Artificial intelligence can also be advanced with quantum computing.

Under the leadership of its research and development department, the Telekom Innovation Laboratories (T-Labs), Deutsche Telekom is participating in the PlanQK project (Platform and Ecosystem for Quantum-Assisted Artificial Intelligence), funded by the German Federal Ministry of the Economy. The consortium consists of 15 partners and 33 associated partners. Within this framework, Telekom is researching and testing potential use cases – particularly from the perspective of a network operator.

Quantum algorithms for telecommunication providers

Quantum computers promise an exponential increase in processing speed for selected problem classes. For example, in combinatorial optimization problems or the training of AI models (AI: artificial intelligence). In communication science, Shor's algorithm is usually considered the "killer application" of quantum computing. This is because quantum computers can use it to attack today's security infrastructures.

In the PlanQK project, T-Labs provides some specific use cases from the field of telecommunications. These include the optimization of communication networks, Industry 4.0 applications or AI-clustering problems for customer segments. These applications have a high level of complexity and, if the problem exceeds a critical size, can only be calculated classically with great difficulty. Here, quantum algorithms promise the solution. With growing size, quality and processing speed, quantum computers could find their way into Telekom’s operational business.

The path to a standardized quantum app store

However, the goal is not only to evaluate and demonstrate the applicability of current quantum technology for use at Telekom. The PlanQK project also seeks to prevent the risk of any one company achieving a dominant market position and setting de facto industry standards. This project is targeted at ensuring the development and establishment of a vendor-independent platform and associated ecosystem for quantum-assisted artificial intelligence. Users could then, for example, compile solutions for their company or commission them via the cloud or a quantum app store. 

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