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US Air Force Awards Quantum Contracts

QRS to deliver quantum computing software and QuSecure to provide post-quantum cybersecurity

Berenice Baker

January 24, 2024

2 Min Read
A warehouse full of boxes
QRS's quantum software reduces inventory management to an optimization problem. Getty

The U.S. Air Force has awarded two contracts for quantum technology, one to Quantum Research Sciences (QRS) for quantum computing software, and another to QuSecure for postquantum cryptography.

QRS – Quantum Computing Software for Inventory Management

The Air Force awarded quantum software company QRS a $2.5 million, three-year Phase III Small Business Technology Transfer to deliver the Department of Defense’s first operational, production-level quantum computing software. 

The company uses a quantum computer to accurately identify optimal inventory levels, including for parts with a demand that is not easy to predict. This “unforecastable” inventory means there can be too many or too few parts in the supply chain, leading to storage costs on in availability.

“Not having adequate inventory puts stress on industrial and supplier sourcing processes, while excess inventory has costs associated with storage, security, maintenance, theft and design obsolescence,” said Air Force 418th supply chain management squadron director Curtis Mears.

QRS turned the problem of supply chain inventory management into an optimization problem, which quantum computers excel at solving.

“Quantum computers are excellent at optimization: quickly identifying the most efficient solution in a complex situation,” said Air Force 418th data science and analysis flight chief Chris McCorkle. “Looking at the supply chain management problem as an optimization scenario allows us to harness quantum computers to determine how many items should be on a shelf more accurately than a classical computer can.” 

Related:US Air Force Awards SandboxAQ Quantum Navigation Research Contract

According to QRS, its quantum computer software is achieving a 28% improved accuracy over classical computers.

“An optimal solution includes three answers: how many parts are needed, when they are needed and how they get there,” said QRS CEO Ethan Krimins.“The cost of our quantum software quickly pays for itself by providing organizations with the data to answer these questions without guessing or estimating.”

The Air Force will be the first customer for the inventory software, but the aim is for it to be used throughout the DOD. 

QuSecure - Post-Quantum Cryptography

AFWERX, the Air Force innovation agency, awarded QuSecure a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) contract use its QuProtect post-quantum cryptography system. QuProtect  s end-to-end PQC software-based solution designed to protect encrypted communications and data from quantum cyberattacks using quantum-secured channels.

QuSecure was previously awarded SBIR contracts by the U.S. Army in 2023 and the U.S. Government in 2022.

“Following winning our previous two SBIR awards, QuSecure is proud to be a part of the Department of the Air Force’s efforts toward a more cybersecure future,” said QuSecure senior vice president of federal operations Pete Ford. “This award from the Air Force recognizes QuSecure’s ability to help enhance the combat fighting capabilities necessitated by modern warfare.”

About the Author(s)

Berenice Baker

Editor, Enter Quantum

Berenice is the editor of Enter Quantum, the companion website and exclusive content outlet for The Quantum Computing Summit. Enter Quantum informs quantum computing decision-makers and solutions creators with timely information, business applications and best practice to enable them to adopt the most effective quantum computing solution for their businesses. Berenice has a background in IT and 16 years’ experience as a technology journalist.

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