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VSC Quantum Computing Laureates

Since Quantum computing (QC) promises a huge leap forward to solve certain complex computational problems, VSC and IBM recently organized, a series of lectures on this topic. As part of the course, participants could send us their proposals for potential applications of quantum computing. In total, we received twelve use cases. Based on criteria such as originality, completeness, QC applicability, and feasibility, two laureates were selected as authors of the best QC use cases: Lore van Santvliet, master student, KU Leuven, and Wim Leys, Project team member, VLAIO. Both laureates win a one-to-one meeting with an IBM specialist on solving their use case. Congratulations!

Quantum computing for the prediction of gene regulation

In prokaryotic organisms, which include bacteria and archaea, gene expression is primarily regulated by transcription factors, which bind specific DNA sequences that are located on nearby genes. Because these transcription factors do not just bind anywhere on the genome but need specific sequences to bind, we might be able to some extent to predict gene expression based solely on the genome sequence of organisms. However, there exist numerous different transcription factors which all have their specific binding sites. A challenge in this regard is therefore to be able to detect recurring sequences, called binding motifs, in genomic sequences. This computational problem involves an extreme number of possibilities (i.e. searching these binding motifs in a collection of sequences, either indifferent genomes or in the same genome). Therefore, it has not been possible to be solved, without additional biological information, for example, provided by experimentally determined gene expression levels. Therefore, this is a problem that might benefit from the enormous scalability and parallelism associated with quantum computing.

Lore van Santvliet, master student, KU Leuven

Quantum computing for scheduling the high school calendar

Each year the largest schools and colleges in Belgium face the same problem. They need to optimize the school calendar for the coming year: allocating a classroom, a time slot (day and hour), a teacher, and the students for each lesson of each course. Although schools have computer programs to solve this complex puzzle, many other parameters need to be considered, such as availability and preferences of the teachers, proximity of the building when students must switch classrooms between lectures, and so on. The QC application should produce for each student what school class (s)he belongs to and the school schedule: for each subgroup, from Monday till Friday, for 8-time slots per day (exception Wednesday: 4-time slots): give the course, the classroom, and the teacher. This is a very practical use case, providing a complex and interesting puzzle for QC to solve.

Wim Leys, Project team member, VLAIO

The lecture series was organized with IBM. We started with a holistic view and famous quantum algorithms, followed by specific topics, such as quantum machine learning, quantum simulations and chemistry, quantum optimization, and quantum computing for the financial sector.

If you are interested in joining the VSC Quantum Computing community, please leave your contact details via and we’ll inform you of our future initiatives.

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