D-Wave Is Latest to Offer Quantum Cloud Platform

By John Russell

October 4, 2018

D-Wave Systems today launched its cloud platform for quantum computing – Leap – which combines a development environment, community features, and “real-time” access to a D-Wave 2000Q quantum computer including one minute of free runtime or enough time to run 400-4,000 experiments according to D-Wave. This is the second such announcement in a month. Rigetti Computing launched its Quantum Cloud Services (QCS) in early September. Longtime quantum player IBM launched its cloud offering, the IBM Q Experience, back in 2016.

The idea all three companies share is to leverage cloud delivery of training and quantum compute time to accelerate development of a quantum computing ecosystem, particularly among developers and users unfamiliar with quantum computing.

“We’d like to sort of unlock the power of quantum computing for potentially hundreds of thousands of developers who have heard about quantum computing and they want to move in the direction to build and run their own quantum applications,” said Murray Thom, D-Wave director of software and cloud services, in a pre-launch briefing with HPCwire that included access to the Leap platform. Thom is a 16-year veteran of D-Wave, which itself is coming up on 20 years (founded in 1999). “My quantum experience is now old enough to drive,” he jested.

To Thom’s latter point, a lingering question for quantum computing is not whether it is old enough but whether it is (nearly) ready enough to leave the garage and drive onto main roadways. The cloud offerings make taking quantum computing test drives much easier.

Of the varying approaches to quantum computing, D-Wave’s quantum annealing approach is among the furthest along. The company was founded in 1999 and notes on its website, “[D-Wave] systems are being used by world-class organizations and institutions including Lockheed Martin, Google, NASA, USC, USRA, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Volkswagen, and many others. D-Wave has been granted over 160 U.S. patents and has published over 100 peer-reviewed papers in leading scientific journals.”

IBM, the granddaddy of the quantum pack with related research stretching back to the 70s, says its “cloud IBM Q Experience has more than 97,000 users who have run more than 6 million experiments. And more than 120 research papers have been published based on experiments run on these systems. The IBM Q Experience is also part of the curriculum at more than 1,500 universities, 300 high schools, and 300 private institutions.”

While those market traction and research activity numbers are impressive, in practical terms quantum computer capacity (number of qubits) and reliability remain problematic. Currently, IBM Q offers 5-qubit and 16-qubit processors. Rigetti offers a 16-qubit processor with plans to scale it up to 128 qubits within roughly a year. There is broad agreement in the quantum computing community that many more qubits are needed to tackle practical applications.

D-Wave 2000Q chip

The D-Wave 2000Q used by Leap is a 2,000-qubit machine and significantly larger than those of its rivals. That said, D-Wave’s quantum annealing technology is very different from gate-based models (universal quantum computers.) Within the constraints of its quantum annealing approach, D-Wave systems are very well-suited for solving problems in optimization, machine learning, and materials sciences says the company. It’s been racing to stimulate development of applications.

So far, none of the quantum computing suppliers or their pioneering users have demonstrated so-called “quantum advantage” – applications in which quantum computers are distinctly better than classical computers. But that day is coming, perhaps soon, they all believe. Rigetti is even offering a $1 million prize for the first to do so on its QCS.

D-Wave continued to beat the application progress drum in today’s Leap announcement, “To date, D-Wave customers have developed 100 early applications for problems spanning airline scheduling, election modeling, quantum chemistry simulation, automotive design, preventative healthcare, logistics and more. Many have also developed software tools that make it easier to develop new applications. These existing applications, tools, and community give developers a wealth of examples to learn from and build upon.”

In what Thom called a ‘happy coincidence’ Leap is being launched during a D-Wave user group meeting in Knoxville, TN. “This is our fourth user group meeting. We started in 2016. Last year there was one in Washington, DC. There are on the order of 80 customers, developers, and researchers who come to talk about tools and methods for programming and applications,” he said.

Here are a few Leap highlights:

  • Free access: free, real-time access to a D-Wave 2000Q quantum computer to submit and run applications, receiving solutions in seconds.
  • Familiar software: the open-source Ocean software development kit (SDK), available on GitHub and in Leap, has built-in templates for algorithms, as well as the ability to develop new code with the familiar programming language Python.
  • Hands-on coding: interactive examples in the form of Jupyter notebooks with live code, equations, visualizations and narrative text to jumpstart quantum application development.
  • Learning resources: comprehensive live demos and educational resources to help. developers get up to speed quickly on how to write applications for a quantum computer
  • Community support: community and technical forums to enable easy developer collaboration.

“Even at launch the system is prepared to handle tens of thousands of users,” said Thom. “We have a quantum computing system, which is the primary online system available for this, and we also have a secondary quantum computing system available as backup. The Leap front end is hosted on Amazon but it’s built to run in any public cloud. The users will not be charged nor do they need accounts.” 

HPCwire’s brief session on Leap suggested it’s an easy-to-navigate platform rich in resources for relative novices and those more experienced with quantum computing concepts. Attracting users steeped in traditional HPC and cluster computing paradigms and enabling them to engage in quantum computing without getting bogged down in quantum theory is a major goal. It’s one of the reasons, for example, D-Wave’s tools are Python-based.

Thom said, “Right up front [on the Leap dashboard] we made available information where they can learn about Leap, about case studies, about quantum application development, also information and tutorials about quantum computing, a tour of our laboratory, and some really interesting videos that our customers have put up about their projects.” The price for free access to Leap, said Thom, was a requirement that all software developed on the cloud platform be put into open source. Software developed offline but run online need not be. Users can upgrade from their allotted one minute of free time to paid time starting at $2,000/hr.

With three quantum cloud platforms now available, it will be interesting to see whether development efforts do indeed accelerate and begin to generate new applications. One can imagine researchers kicking the tires on all three platforms.

Thom said, “I’ve already begun to see that in terms of researchers who have been looking to get access to multiple systems trying to see if they can find problem instances they can run on multiple platforms. I don’t suspect that will be every user. I think that people will gravitate towards opportunities to learn more about the system and opportunities to leverage the platforms to actually get work done. I think they will probably very quickly gravitate to those types of environments well suited for their applications.”

Leap will initially be a development platform – no one is truly using quantum computing yet for ‘production’ purposes – but it was designed to support production requirements. “We anticipated there will always be some customers who are interested in or required to have their own systems in-house and other customers who are interested in basically having their systems hooked in remotely and being able to access that way. Having said that, I anticipate the platform will evolve as the community is developing applications and we start to learn more about their use cases and their workflows and data and we’ll evolve this system to adapt to that,” said Thom.

Quantum industry watcher Bob Sorensen, VP of Research and Technology, Hyperion Research, said Leap is an important step in the right direction. “I see D-Wave’s new software infrastructure as a significant advancement in moving quantum computing away from the realm of being seen as mysterious to where software developers don’t have to fully appreciate the underlying quantum physics to work on QC algorithms and applications in a more familiar traditional programming environment. This can only encourage the proliferation of QC software developers and compelling QC-based use cases.”

The proof will be in the payoff. Thom noted two milestones.

“When the growth of the community reaches a critical size there’s likely to be an emergence of sophisticated, shared open source software being used for programming these systems. More than likely, people within that community will start to making demonstrations where they can say in this particularly application domain I can do better than industry. That would be a very significant milestone. There will also be a milestone where someone discovers the equivalent of a quantum killer app. That’s going to lead to a demonstration of quantum advantage with the application. The progression of the quantum industry will rapidly change at that point.”

Link to D-Wave announcement: https://www.dwavesys.com/press-releases/d-wave-launches-leap-first-real-time-quantum-application-environment

Subscribe to HPCwire's Weekly Update!

Be the most informed person in the room! Stay ahead of the tech trends with industy updates delivered to you every week!

What’s New in HPC Research: Rabies, Smog, Robots & More

October 14, 2019

In this bimonthly feature, HPCwire highlights newly published research in the high-performance computing community and related domains. From parallel programming to exascale to quantum computing, the details are here. Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Crystal Ball Gazing: IBM’s Vision for the Future of Computing

October 14, 2019

Dario Gil, IBM’s relatively new director of research, painted a intriguing portrait of the future of computing along with a rough idea of how IBM thinks we’ll get there at last month’s MIT-IBM Watson AI Lab’s AI Read more…

By John Russell

Summit Simulates Braking – on Mars

October 14, 2019

NASA is planning to send humans to Mars by the 2030s – and landing on the surface will be considerably trickier than landing a rover like Curiosity. To solve the problem, NASA researchers are using the world’s fastes Read more…

By Staff report

Chaminade University’s Immersion Program Builds Capacity for Data Science in Hawaii, Pacific Region

October 10, 2019

Kuleana is a uniquely Hawaiian value and practice which embodies responsibility to self, community, and the ‘aina' (land). At Chaminade University, a federally designated Native Hawaiian serving university in Hawai‘i Read more…

By Faith Singer-Villalobos

Trovares Drives Memory-Driven, Property Graph Analytics Strategy with HPE

October 10, 2019

Trovares, a high performance property graph analytics company, has partnered with HPE and its Superdome Flex memory-driven servers on a cybersecurity capability the companies say “routinely” runs near-time workloads on 24TB-capacity systems... Read more…

By Doug Black

AWS Solution Channel

Making High Performance Computing Affordable and Accessible for Small and Medium Businesses with HPC on AWS

High performance computing (HPC) brings a powerful set of tools to a broad range of industries, helping to drive innovation and boost revenue in finance, genomics, oil and gas extraction, and other fields. Read more…

HPE Extreme Performance Solutions

Intel FPGAs: More Than Just an Accelerator Card

FPGA (Field Programmable Gate Array) acceleration cards are not new, as they’ve been commercially available since 1984. Typically, the emphasis around FPGAs has centered on the fact that they’re programmable accelerators, and that they can truly offer workload specific hardware acceleration solutions without requiring custom silicon. Read more…

IBM Accelerated Insights

HPC in the Cloud: Avoid These Common Pitfalls

[Connect with LSF users and learn new skills in the IBM Spectrum LSF User Community.]

It seems that everyone is experimenting about cloud computing. Read more…

Intel, Lenovo Join Forces on HPC Cluster for Flatiron

October 9, 2019

An HPC cluster with deep learning techniques will be used to process petabytes of scientific data as part of workload-intensive projects spanning astrophysics to genomics. AI partners Intel and Lenovo said they are providing... Read more…

By George Leopold

Crystal Ball Gazing: IBM’s Vision for the Future of Computing

October 14, 2019

Dario Gil, IBM’s relatively new director of research, painted a intriguing portrait of the future of computing along with a rough idea of how IBM thinks we’ Read more…

By John Russell

Summit Simulates Braking – on Mars

October 14, 2019

NASA is planning to send humans to Mars by the 2030s – and landing on the surface will be considerably trickier than landing a rover like Curiosity. To solve Read more…

By Staff report

Trovares Drives Memory-Driven, Property Graph Analytics Strategy with HPE

October 10, 2019

Trovares, a high performance property graph analytics company, has partnered with HPE and its Superdome Flex memory-driven servers on a cybersecurity capability the companies say “routinely” runs near-time workloads on 24TB-capacity systems... Read more…

By Doug Black

Intel, Lenovo Join Forces on HPC Cluster for Flatiron

October 9, 2019

An HPC cluster with deep learning techniques will be used to process petabytes of scientific data as part of workload-intensive projects spanning astrophysics to genomics. AI partners Intel and Lenovo said they are providing... Read more…

By George Leopold

Optimizing Offshore Wind Farms with Supercomputer Simulations

October 9, 2019

Offshore wind farms offer a number of benefits; many of the areas with the strongest winds are located offshore, and siting wind farms offshore ameliorates many of the land use concerns associated with onshore wind farms. Some estimates say that, if leveraged, offshore wind power... Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Harvard Deploys Cannon, New Lenovo Water-Cooled HPC Cluster

October 9, 2019

Harvard's Faculty of Arts & Sciences Research Computing (FASRC) center announced a refresh of their primary HPC resource. The new cluster, called Cannon after the pioneering American astronomer Annie Jump Cannon, is supplied by Lenovo... Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

NSF Announces New AI Program; Plans $120M in Funding Next Year

October 8, 2019

As the saying goes, when you’re hot, you’re hot. Right now, AI is scalding. Today the National Science Foundation announced a new AI initiative – The National Artificial Intelligence Research Institutes program – with plans to invest about “$120 million in grants next year... Read more…

By Staff report

DOE Sets Sights on Accelerating AI (and other) Technology Transfer

October 3, 2019

For the past two days DOE leaders along with ~350 members from academia and industry gathered in Chicago to discuss AI development and the ways in which industr Read more…

By John Russell

Supercomputer-Powered AI Tackles a Key Fusion Energy Challenge

August 7, 2019

Fusion energy is the Holy Grail of the energy world: low-radioactivity, low-waste, zero-carbon, high-output nuclear power that can run on hydrogen or lithium. T Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

DARPA Looks to Propel Parallelism

September 4, 2019

As Moore’s law runs out of steam, new programming approaches are being pursued with the goal of greater hardware performance with less coding. The Defense Advanced Projects Research Agency is launching a new programming effort aimed at leveraging the benefits of massive distributed parallelism with less sweat. Read more…

By George Leopold

Cray Wins NNSA-Livermore ‘El Capitan’ Exascale Contract

August 13, 2019

Cray has won the bid to build the first exascale supercomputer for the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) and Lawrence Livermore National Laborator Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

AMD Launches Epyc Rome, First 7nm CPU

August 8, 2019

From a gala event at the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco yesterday (Aug. 7), AMD launched its second-generation Epyc Rome x86 chips, based on its 7nm proce Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Ayar Labs to Demo Photonics Chiplet in FPGA Package at Hot Chips

August 19, 2019

Silicon startup Ayar Labs continues to gain momentum with its DARPA-backed optical chiplet technology that puts advanced electronics and optics on the same chip Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Chinese Company Sugon Placed on US ‘Entity List’ After Strong Showing at International Supercomputing Conference

June 26, 2019

After more than a decade of advancing its supercomputing prowess, operating the world’s most powerful supercomputer from June 2013 to June 2018, China is keep Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

D-Wave’s Path to 5000 Qubits; Google’s Quantum Supremacy Claim

September 24, 2019

On the heels of IBM’s quantum news last week come two more quantum items. D-Wave Systems today announced the name of its forthcoming 5000-qubit system, Advantage (yes the name choice isn’t serendipity), at its user conference being held this week in Newport, RI. Read more…

By John Russell

A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Hardware That Powered the Black Hole Image

June 24, 2019

Two months ago, the first-ever image of a black hole took the internet by storm. A team of scientists took years to produce and verify the striking image – an Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Leading Solution Providers

ISC 2019 Virtual Booth Video Tour

CRAY
CRAY
DDN
DDN
DELL EMC
DELL EMC
GOOGLE
GOOGLE
ONE STOP SYSTEMS
ONE STOP SYSTEMS
PANASAS
PANASAS
VERNE GLOBAL
VERNE GLOBAL

Intel Confirms Retreat on Omni-Path

August 1, 2019

Intel Corp.’s plans to make a big splash in the network fabric market for linking HPC and other workloads has apparently belly-flopped. The chipmaker confirmed to us the outlines of an earlier report by the website CRN that it has jettisoned plans for a second-generation version of its Omni-Path interconnect... Read more…

By Staff report

Kubernetes, Containers and HPC

September 19, 2019

Software containers and Kubernetes are important tools for building, deploying, running and managing modern enterprise applications at scale and delivering enterprise software faster and more reliably to the end user — while using resources more efficiently and reducing costs. Read more…

By Daniel Gruber, Burak Yenier and Wolfgang Gentzsch, UberCloud

Intel Debuts Pohoiki Beach, Its 8M Neuron Neuromorphic Development System

July 17, 2019

Neuromorphic computing has received less fanfare of late than quantum computing whose mystery has captured public attention and which seems to have generated mo Read more…

By John Russell

Rise of NIH’s Biowulf Mirrors the Rise of Computational Biology

July 29, 2019

The story of NIH’s supercomputer Biowulf is fascinating, important, and in many ways representative of the transformation of life sciences and biomedical res Read more…

By John Russell

Quantum Bits: Neven’s Law (Who Asked for That), D-Wave’s Steady Push, IBM’s Li-O2- Simulation

July 3, 2019

Quantum computing’s (QC) many-faceted R&D train keeps slogging ahead and recently Japan is taking a leading role. Yesterday D-Wave Systems announced it ha Read more…

By John Russell

With the Help of HPC, Astronomers Prepare to Deflect a Real Asteroid

September 26, 2019

For years, NASA has been running simulations of asteroid impacts to understand the risks (and likelihoods) of asteroids colliding with Earth. Now, NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) are preparing for the next, crucial step in planetary defense against asteroid impacts: physically deflecting a real asteroid. Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

ISC Keynote: Thomas Sterling’s Take on Whither HPC

June 20, 2019

Entertaining, insightful, and unafraid to launch the occasional verbal ICBM, HPC pioneer Thomas Sterling delivered his 16th annual closing keynote at ISC yesterday. He explored, among other things: exascale machinations; quantum’s bubbling money pot; Arm’s new HPC viability; Europe’s... Read more…

By John Russell

Argonne Team Makes Record Globus File Transfer

July 10, 2019

A team of scientists at Argonne National Laboratory has broken a data transfer record by moving a staggering 2.9 petabytes of data for a research project.  The data – from three large cosmological simulations – was generated and stored on the Summit supercomputer at the Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility (OLCF)... Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

  • arrow
  • Click Here for More Headlines
  • arrow
Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!
Share This