Connecting Power Grids and Quantum Computers

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This new innovative interface will bridge the gap between theory and experiment by allowing researchers to conduct real-time quantum experiments. Scientists have bridged the gap between experiment and theory by creating a user-friendly and open-source interface.

There are more and more ways to supply and generate energy and power grids are becoming increasingly more complex, which makes classical computers overwhelmed and unable to handle the computational needs of power systems.

The solution to this issue might come from quantum computers as they can handle a large number of computations in a short amount of time. Quantum computing research is advancing at light speed, and they might be used to optimize power grids.

According to Interesting Engineering, researchers from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), in collaboration with RTDS Technologies Inc. and Atom Computing, have developed an open-source software interface that connects quantum computers to power research equipment.

The interface allows for experiments where quantum computers are used to address complex optimization problems in power systems that classical supercomputers struggle to solve efficiently.

Scientists have previously researched the use of quantum computers for increasing grid performance and ensuring secure communication of power systems, since their unique capabilities based on quantum physics principles show promise in efficiently solving optimization problems.

However, one of the challenges has been size- creating quantum systems that can perform these tasks efficiently and reliably at the scale necessary for practical implementation.

So what is “Quantum-in-the-loop”?

According to Interesting Engineering, the quantum-in-the-loop framework lets researchers translate optimization problems into quantum variables and communicate with power system simulations in real-time. Thanks to this connection, scientists can evaluate the types of problems that quantum computers can effectively solve and conduct live experiments to explore potential solutions.

NREL’s Advanced Research on Integrated Energy Systems (ARIES) was used as a realistic power system environment for the quantum-in-the-loop experiments.

Rob Hovsapian, an ARIES research advisor, said in a press release, “To assess the security of next-generation communication protocols and validate current and future quantum algorithms, it is critical to establish a real-world emulation environment with actual hardware and high-speed communication. This is precisely what we have developed at ARIES with quantum in-the-loop.”