Energy opens limitless possibilities into our lives in so many ways. The Internet, transportation, lighting, and better living quality are only some of the applications of having an access to a viable energy source. However, there are still many areas throughout the world that do not have access to this opportunity because they are unable to connect to the closest energy grid. Because it is expensive to expand energy infrastructure, it is critical to choose a location that is optimally placed to power nearby areas. To solve this problem, I used quantum optimization algorithms to find the most optimal location to place a energy plant given a dataset I found online from a survey on various villages in Pakistan. Using the PyQuil and Entropica QAOA SDKs, I was able to take the data, generate a distance matrix, which would in turn create a hamiltonian energy function The global minimum of this function represents the most optimal solution set. The quantum computer that is told remotely to calculate the global minimum then reports whether the optimization algorithm was successful or not.

What inspired you (or your team)?

I am Pakistani by ethnicity. Every time I visited my home country to see my relatives and friends, I always remember how the lights and television shut off periodically every day to prevent the electrical grid from exhausting itself. It was always an inconvenience, but I then thought how there were villages scattered across the country where electricity is too expensive or not within reach. So, I realized that where electrical grids and power plants are built is a very important factor in laying out a country’s energy infrastructure. Using quantum optimization techniques, I hope to be able to help Pakistan and other countries place more more power plants in areas where they will cover as many households that need it, while being as efficient as possible.
I’ve also always been fascinated by the development of computing from a very young age. I’ve seen all kinds of computers from ones with clunky beige monitors to sleek and ultra-thin laptops. As the improvements to computing hardware slowly stagnates to the point of no performance increase at all, “classical” computing reaches a dead end. Quantum computing offers to be able to solve some problems with speed, efficiency, and accuracy, once the hardware of quantum computing improves enough.