Willis Towers Watson (NASDAQ: WLTW)—a leading global advisory, broking, and solutions company—has long used complex mathematical models to deliver great results for clients and turn risk into growth. However, some problems are still so challenging that they remain intractable with even the most advanced contemporary computational solutions.
Because of that, Willis Towers Watson has joined the Microsoft Quantum Network to partner with Microsoft to explore the ways that quantum-inspired algorithms might assist the firm with its work in the areas of risk management, financial services, and investing. Quantum-inspired algorithms harness the power of quantum physics to solve hard computational problems in new ways. Using these techniques, Microsoft is already able to gain orders of magnitude of performance acceleration in Azure. Once quantum computers become available at scale, even greater acceleration is possible.
“Current modelling techniques to quantify risk require a huge amount of computing power, using thousands of computers over many hours,” says Willis Towers Watson CEO John Haley. “Quantum computing offers us the chance to look at our clients’ problems in a different way. By focusing on how we would model the problems on quantum computers when they become available at scale, we are able to work with Microsoft to redefine the problems and speed up our solutions on existing hardware.”
Engaging with our expertise in quantum computing is a natural extension of Willis Towers Watson’s long partnership with Microsoft. It already has improved business agility and productivity with the help of Microsoft’s Office 365 and developed a specialized insurance model on Azure.
“Willis Towers Watson’s ability to apply technology in novel ways to benefit their customers is always inspiring,” said Peggy Johnson, Executive Vice President of Business Development for Microsoft. “We’re thrilled to have our Microsoft Quantum team working side-by-side with their experts to develop next generation modelling tools.”
This sentiment was shared by Haley, who noted: “We are excited to work with Microsoft—they have an incredible amount of brainpower and are on the forefront of quantum computing.”
The addition of Willis Towers Watson to the Microsoft Quantum Network is the latest example of Microsoft working with world-class institutions to apply the techniques of quantum computing to real-world problems. For instance, we have partnered with Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) to show how the power of quantum computing could enhance Case Western’s approach to detecting cancerous tumors. By using a quantum-inspired algorithm that runs on today’s classical computers, Case Western researchers are working to improve the diagnostic capability of magnetic-resonance imaging devices, a key tool used for detecting and fighting cancer.
We’re also working with the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) on developing new quantum-based solutions to address energy optimization and other challenges where classical computers have serious limitations.
Microsoft is pioneering the emerging quantum era through an approach that will deliver the industry’s most stable and scalable quantum computer. As the development of the quantum computer progresses, select partners such as Willis Towers Watson can access new quantum-inspired Azure services through membership in the Microsoft Quantum Network for the most complete, end-to-end quantum programming.
While there is still much work to be done, Willis Towers Watson and Microsoft are excited to see just how quantum-inspired solutions will help transform the way financial industries improve risk management.
To learn more about the Microsoft Quantum Network, visit the Microsoft Quantum website.