Quantum Computing

Tohoku University and the NEC Joint Research Program to Use 8-Qubit Quantum Annealing Machines

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Insider Summary

  • Tohoku University and NEC Corporation have started joint research on computer systems using an 8-qubit quantum annealing machine.
  • The 8-qubit quantum annealing machine used in this study was recently developed using superconducting technology coupled with the ParityQC Architecture.
  • This is the first domestically produced quantum annealing machine in Japan with online access.

PRESS RELEASE — Tohoku University and NEC Corporation have started joint research on a computer system using an 8-qubit quantum annealing machine developed by NEC and Japan’s National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST).

The 8-qubit quantum annealing machine used in this study was recently developed using superconducting technology coupled with the ParityQC Architecture. Because of this, the machine is noise-resistant and remains capable of upgrading to a fully connected quantum annealed architecture while maintaining a prolonged quantum superposition state.

This is the first domestically made quantum annealing machine in Japan that can be accessed from outside via the Internet. This joint research is also the first project to use this machine.

Quantum annealing machine features

Solving complex social problems requires an optimal combination of a large number of options (solution of a combinatorial optimization problem). To solve combinatorial. optimization problems at high speed and with high accuracy, NEC and AIST are developing a quantum annealing machine using the superconducting parametron.

Using the superconducting paramethron makes this quantum annealing machine noise-resistant and allows long coherence times (the duration to maintain a quantum state). Coherence times are generally shortened during multi-qubit implementations. However, in addition to the noise-resistant characteristics of the superconducting parametron, this machine is able to maintain long coherence times even in multi-qubit implementations by adopting the ParityQC architecture, a coupling technology that is highly compatible with parametrons. These features allow computation of real-world combinatorial optimization problems at high speed and high accuracy.

Regarding these two technologies, NEC has successfully demonstrated the operation of a unit cell consisting of four qubits in March 2022. Recently, NEC successfully developed a quantum annealing machine consisting of eight qubits by aligning the unit cell.

The Role of ParityQC Architecture
At the heart of this pioneering technology is the patented ParityQC Architecture. Its potential was recognized early on by Hermann Hauser, Co-Founder of Amadeus Capital and Acorn, who is an investor in ParityQC.

He stated: “This is a remarkable validation of the intrinsic advantages that the ParityQC approach provides: resistance to noise, and scalability to a fully connected quantum computer while maintaining a prolonged state of quantum superposition. The adoption of the ParityQC Architecture by NEC, one of the world’s top supercomputing companies, is a tremendous achievement for the 4-year-old University of Innsbruck. This establishes ParityQC as the world’s first QC architecture company with a proven working implementation demonstrating attractive advantages that will lead to adoption of ParityQC’s design by many other hardware manufacturers. The recent QC consortium announcements in Europe prove that.”

“NEC was the first company to introduce superconducting qubits in the 90s. We are very proud that their quantum device, which will now be available for external use for the first time, is based on our architecture” added Magdalena Hauser and Wolfgang Lechner, co-founders and CEO of ParityQC.

Joint research between Tohoku University and NEC

Tohoku University and NEC began joint research on high-performance computing technology in 1958. In 2014, the “High-performance Computing Joint Research Division (NEC)” was established within Tohoku University Cyber ​​Science Center to conduct research aimed at solving various scientific problems and issues. social. For the current joint research, Tohoku University and NEC will study the application of the above quantum annealing machines to many existing real-world combinatorial optimization problems, such as deriving optimal evacuation routes to reduce damage and injury from tsunami inundation.

Prior to this joint research, Tohoku University and NEC had been working on the development of a quantum annealing-assisted next-generation supercomputer platform under the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology (MEXT) Next Generation Research and Development Project since 2018. This initiative aims to further improve the performance and sophistication of vector supercomputers, which have demonstrated high processing capacities in many practical applications, and to develop new supercomputer platforms through the functional complement of vector supercomputers with quantum annealing and simulation devoted to combinatorial optimization problems. In recognition of this quantum annealing initiative, Tohoku University has been accredited by the Cabinet Office of Japan as a “Quantum Solutions Center”.

In the current joint research, the 8-qubit quantum annealing machine based on the superconducting parametron developed by NEC and AIST will be made available to Tohoku University via the Internet. As part of this joint research, Tohoku University and NEC will use a quantum annealing machine and a simulated quantum annealing machine (NEC Vector Annealing) running on the “SX Aurora TSUBASA vector supercomputer installed at Tohoku University to take advantage of the features of both. quantum annealing machine and simulated quantum annealing machine. Going forward, Tohoku University and NEC will jointly conduct research on computing system architectures to solve complex social problems. Furthermore, they will also explore unique use cases for quantum annealing, which has the potential to perform high-speed computing.

In addition to the simulated quantum annealing machine installed at Tohoku University, NEC and Tohoku University will also use the quantum annealing machine installed at AIST via the Internet. The researchers will examine the overall configuration of the two machines taking into account the effects of communication delays and other factors and feed the results back into future developments of the quantum annealing machine and simulated quantum annealing machine. Next, to solve real-world problems with the speed and accuracy of quantum annealing, they will investigate how to optimally allocate computations for both. machine and strive to improve its usability.

Tohoku University and NEC will capitalize on this joint research as an opportunity to further accelerate the social implementation of quantum computing technologies.

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