The fastest supercomputers are built with the fastest microprocessor chips, which in turn are built upon the fastest switching technology. But, even the best semiconductors are reaching their limits as more is demanded of them. In the closing months of this year, came news of several developments that could break through silicon’s performance barrier and herald an age of smaller, faster, lower-power chips. It is possible that they could be commercially viable in the next few years.
“There are a number of exciting technologies we should see in 2016, and a leader will be Intel’s next-generation Xeon Phi coprocessor – a hybrid between an accelerator and general purpose processor. This new class of processors will have a large impact on the industry with its innovative design that combines a many-core architecture with general-purpose productivity. Cray, for example, will be delivering Intel Xeon Phi processors with some of our largest systems, including those going to Los Alamos National Labs (the “Trinity” supercomputer) and NERSC (the “Cori” supercomputer).”
Today D-Wave Systems announced that Los Alamos National Laboratory will acquire and install the latest D-Wave quantum computer, the 1000+ qubit D-Wave 2X system. Los Alamos, a multidisciplinary research institution engaged in strategic science on behalf of national security, will lead a collaboration within the Department of Energy and with select university partners to explore the capabilities and applications of quantum annealing technology, consistent with the goals of the government-wide National Strategic Computing Initiative.
Bo Ewald from D-Wave Systems presented this Disruptive Technologies talk at the HPC User Forum. “While we are only at the beginning of this journey, quantum computing has the potential to help solve some of the most complex technical, commercial, scientific, and national defense problems that organizations face. We expect that quantum computing will lead to breakthroughs in science, engineering, modeling and simulation, financial analysis, optimization, logistics, and national defense applications.”
In this video from the Department of Energy Computational Science Graduate Fellowship meeting, Jarrod McClean from Harvard University presents: Quantum Computers and Quantum Chemistry.
Today Intel announced a 10-year collaborative relationship with the Delft University of Technology and TNO, the Dutch Organization for Applied Research, to accelerate advancements in quantum computing. To achieve this goal, Intel will invest US$50 million and will provide significant engineering resources both on-site and at Intel, as well as technical support. “Quantum computing holds the promise of solving complex problems that are practically insurmountable today, including intricate simulations such as large-scale financial analysis and more effective drug development.”
Today D-Wave Systems announced the general availability of the D-Wave 2X quantum computing system. The D-Wave 2X features a 1000+ qubit quantum processor and numerous design improvements that result in larger problem sizes, faster performance and higher precision. At 1000+ qubits, the D-Wave 2X quantum processor evaluates all 21000 possible solutions simultaneously as it converges on optimal or near optimal solutions, more possibilities than there are particles in the observable universe. No conventional computer of any kind could represent this many possibilities simultaneously, further illustrating the powerful nature of quantum computation.
“Temperature, noise, and precision all play a profound role in how well quantum processors solve problems. Beyond scaling up the technology by doubling the number of qubits, we also achieved key technology advances prioritized around their impact on performance.”
Quantum computing has taken a step closer with two recent announcements demonstrating methods for error correction in addition to a new scalable design for quantum circuits based on a lattice structure.
D-Wave Systems reports that the company is designing and building the world’s most advanced quantum computers with help from engineering simulation solutions from ANSYS. This next generation of supercomputers uses quantum mechanics to massively accelerate computation and has the potential to solve some of the most complex computing problems facing organizations today.