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

By John Russell

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 has partnered with a Japanese QC consulting start-up, Sigma-i, to help prime the QC pump. Last week IBM, with Japan-based colleagues, reported advances in simulating lithium-oxide reactivity such that could help advance battery technology. But first, have you heard of Neven’s Law?

Coined for Hartmut Neven, director of the Google Quantum Artificial Intelligence lab – Neven’s Law, among other things, predicts QC will achieve quantum supremacy soon, perhaps 2019. A good article in Quanta Magazine and reprinted in Scientific American tells the story.

Here’s a brief excerpt:

“The doubly exponential rate at which, according to Neven, quantum computers are gaining on classical ones is a result of two exponential factors combined with each other. The first is that quantum computers have an intrinsic exponential advantage over classical ones: If a quantum circuit has four quantum bits, for example, it takes a classical circuit with 16 ordinary bits to achieve equivalent computational power. This would be true even if quantum technology never improved.

“The second exponential factor comes from the rapid improvement of quantum processors. Neven says that Google’s best quantum chips have recently been improving at an exponential rate. (This rapid improvement has been driven by a reduction in the error rate in the quantum circuits. Reducing the error rate has allowed the engineers to build larger quantum processors, Neven said.) If classical computers require exponentially more computational power to simulate quantum processors, and those quantum processors are growing exponentially more powerful with time, you end up with this doubly exponential relationship between quantum and classical machines.”

Apparently, the rule began as an in-house observation before Neven mentioned it in May at the Google Quantum Spring Symposium where he said that quantum computers are gaining computational power relative to classical ones at a “doubly exponential” rate. We’ll defer further sketching of his argument till later in the article. Not everyone (no surprise) agrees with Neven but Google definitely has earned credentials in this space.

RISE OF QC CONSULTANTS: D-WAVE PARTNERS WITH SIGMA-I

D-Wave 2000Q System

First up is D-Wave, which yesterday announced forming a partnership with Sigma-i, a spin-out from Tohoku University. Sigma-i is touted as a “company formed to optimize the world with quantum computing technologies.” Might as well have stretch aspirations. Sigma-i is one of an emerging class of quantum computing consultants. In this instance its expertise is in quantum annealing

“In Japan, many companies look forward to the real-world applications that quantum computing can and will bring,” said Masayuki Ohzeki, CEO of Sigma-i. “This contract couples our quantum expertise with D-Wave’s powerful quantum computing systems, bridging the gap between industry and academia, and ushering in a new era of quantum computing in Japan.”

D-Wave labeled its partnership with Sigma-i as “the biggest commercial, global quantum deal to date – [and] will power increased access to commercial quantum computing systems, paving the way towards a practical quantum future” but didn’t precisely explain what that encompasses. Sigma-I’s roots seem to be part of the Tohoku University Quantum Annealing Research Development (T-QARD) project. Two key Sigma-i offerings include:

  • Application development. Sigma-i will consult with commercial, research and educational institutions in Japan to help them build quantum applications. No mention is made of whether Sigma-I will develop applications (IP) of its own
  • Access D-Wave’s “Cloud”. Sigma-i will act as a sort of concierge ‘portal’ for access to D-Wave’s 2000Q family of products through Leap (cloud platform). It’s unclear if broad training is also offered.

D-Wave says the Sigma-i team is deeply knowledgeable about how to program the D-Wave system and will offer consulting services, “including coding best practices and embedding problems onto the D-Wave system.” In April, Tohoku, D-Wave, and automotive manufacturer Denso reported developing a new algorithm to segment certain problem types into sub-problems more readily solved on the D-Wave system.

“This contract signals the ongoing growth of our cloud business and the increasing interest in quantum computing worldwide,” according to Vern Brownell, CEO of D-Wave. Back in February, D-Wave announced an 18-month technology roadmap featuring a new underlying fab technology, reduced noise, increased connectivity, 5000-qubit processors, and an expanded toolset for creation of hybrid quantum-classical applications. (See HPCwire article, D-Wave Previews Next-Gen Platform; Debuts Pegasus Topology; Targets 5000 Qubits)

IBM-MITSUBISHI PAPER PUSHES NISQ CAPABILITY

A rendering of IBM Q System One, the world’s first fully integrated universal quantum computing system, currently installed at the Thomas J Watson Research Center. Source: IBM

Last week, IBM and Mitsubishi Chemical reported they had simulated the initial steps of the reaction mechanism between lithium and oxygen in Li-air batteries – the first research of its kind to have been simulated on a quantum computer. Their paper (Computational Investigations of the Lithium Superoxide Dimer Rearrangement on Noisy Quantum Devices) was posted on arXiv last week.

Quantum chemistry has long been a prime target for quantum computing. The new work introduces a method for reducing the complexity of the calculation. Here’s the abstract:

“Currently available noisy intermediate-scale quantum (NISQ) devices are limited by the number of qubits that can be used for quantum chemistry calculations on molecules. We show [the] number of qubits required for simulations on a quantum computer can be reduced by limiting the number of orbitals in the active space. Thus, we have utilized ansätze that approximate exact classical matrix eigenvalue decomposition methods (Full Configuration Interaction).

“Such methods are appropriate for computations with the Variational Quantum Eigensolver algorithm to perform computational investigations on the rearrangement of the lithium superoxide dimer with both quantum simulators and quantum devices. These results demonstrate that, even with a limited orbital active space, quantum simulators are capable of obtaining energy values that are similar to the exact ones. However, calculations on quantum hardware underestimate energies even after the application of readout error mitigation,” according to the paper.

In the recent work, researchers demonstrate the reduction of orbitals used in the calculation to just the “highest occupied molecular orbitals (HOMO) and lowest unoccupied molecular orbitals (LUMO) of the stationary points can effectively reduce this problem down to two qubits for the investigation of the complete mechanism of this rearrangement reaction.” The paper is best read in full.

This joint research was made possible through the IBM Q Network Hub at Keio University in Japan. IBM reports, “Only one year into the collaboration, the hub of IBM, Keio, Mitsubishi Chemical, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, and Mizuho Financial Group has not only made progress in practical battery chemistry, but also published work in financial risk analysis, and other fundamental quantum research.”

Like D-Wave, IBM has been aggressively expanding its quantum presence worldwide. In a separate announcement today, Big Blue reported expansion of its IBM Q Network in Europe. The new members, Aalto University, University of Turku, EPFL, University of the Basque Country and The International Iberian Nanotechnology Laboratory “will have direct access to IBM Q Network resources and access to the IBM Q Experience’s publicly available quantum computing systems for teaching, as well as faculty and student research projects that advance quantum information science and explore early applications.”

NEVENS LAW – IS QUANTUM SUPREMACY AT HAND?

Quantum supremacy – the notion of a quantum computer performing a task that classical computers cannot – was the first attempt to provide a simple description of the capability that would indicate quantum computing was ready to burst past traditional computing. It was followed by a somewhat less absolute notion, quantum advantage, which is the idea that quantum computers can do a task sufficiently better than classical machines to warrant making the switch. In either case, they are intended to represent a pivotal milestone for QC.

Neven’s idea is that achieving quantum supremacy is not far ahead and that doing so is the natural result of QC’s inherent advantages and quantum device advances – captured in Neven’s Law – as discussed earlier in this article. To demonstrate how quickly the gap is closing writer Kevin Hartnett recounts the experiences of Google AI in his article.

“In December 2018, scientists at Google AI ran a calculation on Google’s best quantum processor. They were able to reproduce the computation using a regular laptop. Then in January, they ran the same test on an improved version of the quantum chip. This time they had to use a powerful desktop computer to simulate the result. By February, there were no longer any classical computers in the building that could simulate their quantum counterparts. The researchers had to request time on Google’s enormous server network to do that,” wrote Hartnett.

You get the idea. QC is catching up and fast is the contention. Sometime last February, Neven reportedly had to request more resources – “We were running jobs comprised of a million processors.”

His notion of a doubly exponential rate is interesting. “Even exponential growth is pretty fast. It means that some quantity grows by powers of 2: 21, 22, 23, 24. The first few increases might not be that noticeable, but subsequent jumps are massive. Moore’s law, the famous guideline stating (roughly) that computing power doubles every two years, is exponential,” explained Hartnett.

Doubly exponential growth is more dramatic – instead of increasing by powers of 2, quantities increase by the power two raised to the power of two (shown below):

We’ll see if Neven’s observation proves true.

Link to Quanta article: https://www.quantamagazine.org/does-nevens-law-describe-quantum-computings-rise-20190618/

Link to Scientific American article: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/a-new-law-suggests-quantum-supremacy-could-happen-this-year/

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!

Talk to Me: Nvidia Claims NLP Inference, Training Records

August 15, 2019

Nvidia says it’s achieved significant advances in conversation natural language processing (NLP) training and inference, enabling more complex, immediate-response interchanges between customers and chatbots. And the co Read more…

By Doug Black

Trump Administration and NIST Issue AI Standards Development Plan

August 14, 2019

Efforts to develop AI are gathering steam fast. On Monday, the White House issued a federal plan to help develop technical standards for AI following up on a mandate contained in the Administration’s AI Executive Order Read more…

By John Russell

Scientists to Tap Exascale Computing to Unlock the Mystery of our Accelerating Universe

August 14, 2019

The universe and everything in it roared to life with the Big Bang approximately 13.8 billion years ago. It has continued expanding ever since. While we have a good understanding of the early universe, its fate billions Read more…

By Rob Johnson

AWS Solution Channel

Efficiency and Cost-Optimization for HPC Workloads – AWS Batch and Amazon EC2 Spot Instances

High Performance Computing on AWS leverages the power of cloud computing and the extreme scale it offers to achieve optimal HPC price/performance. With AWS you can right size your services to meet exactly the capacity requirements you need without having to overprovision or compromise capacity. Read more…

HPE Extreme Performance Solutions

Bring the combined power of HPC and AI to your business transformation

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

Cloudy with a Chance of Mainframes

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

Rapid rates of change sometimes result in unexpected bedfellows. Read more…

Argonne Supercomputer Accelerates Cancer Prediction Research

August 13, 2019

In the fight against cancer, early prediction, which drastically improves prognoses, is critical. Now, new research by a team from Northwestern University – and accelerated by supercomputing resources at Argonne Nation Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Scientists to Tap Exascale Computing to Unlock the Mystery of our Accelerating Universe

August 14, 2019

The universe and everything in it roared to life with the Big Bang approximately 13.8 billion years ago. It has continued expanding ever since. While we have a Read more…

By Rob Johnson

AI is the Next Exascale – Rick Stevens on What that Means and Why It’s Important

August 13, 2019

Twelve years ago the Department of Energy (DOE) was just beginning to explore what an exascale computing program might look like and what it might accomplish. Today, DOE is repeating that process for AI, once again starting with science community town halls to gather input and stimulate conversation. The town hall program... Read more…

By Tiffany Trader and John Russell

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

Lenovo Drives Single-Socket Servers with AMD Epyc Rome CPUs

August 7, 2019

No summer doldrums here. As part of the AMD Epyc Rome launch event in San Francisco today, Lenovo announced two new single-socket servers, the ThinkSystem SR635 Read more…

By Doug Black

Building Diversity and Broader Engagement in the HPC Community

August 7, 2019

Increasing diversity and inclusion in HPC is a community-building effort. Representation of both issues and individuals matters - the more people see HPC in a w Read more…

By AJ Lauer

Xilinx vs. Intel: FPGA Market Leaders Launch Server Accelerator Cards

August 6, 2019

The two FPGA market leaders, Intel and Xilinx, both announced new accelerator cards this week designed to handle specialized, compute-intensive workloads and un Read more…

By Doug Black

Upcoming NSF Cyberinfrastructure Projects to Support ‘Long-Tail’ Users, AI and Big Data

August 5, 2019

The National Science Foundation is well positioned to support national priorities, as new NSF-funded HPC systems to come online in the upcoming year promise to Read more…

By Ken Chiacchia, Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center/XSEDE

High Performance (Potato) Chips

May 5, 2006

In this article, we focus on how Procter & Gamble is using high performance computing to create some common, everyday supermarket products. Tom Lange, a 27-year veteran of the company, tells us how P&G models products, processes and production systems for the betterment of consumer package goods. Read more…

By Michael Feldman

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

Cray, AMD to Extend DOE’s Exascale Frontier

May 7, 2019

Cray and AMD are coming back to Oak Ridge National Laboratory to partner on the world’s largest and most expensive supercomputer. The Department of Energy’s Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Graphene Surprises Again, This Time for Quantum Computing

May 8, 2019

Graphene is fascinating stuff with promise for use in a seeming endless number of applications. This month researchers from the University of Vienna and Institu Read more…

By John Russell

AMD Verifies Its Largest 7nm Chip Design in Ten Hours

June 5, 2019

AMD announced last week that its engineers had successfully executed the first physical verification of its largest 7nm chip design – in just ten hours. The AMD Radeon Instinct Vega20 – which boasts 13.2 billion transistors – was tested using a TSMC-certified Calibre nmDRC software platform from Mentor. Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

TSMC and Samsung Moving to 5nm; Whither Moore’s Law?

June 12, 2019

With reports that Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TMSC) and Samsung are moving quickly to 5nm manufacturing, it’s a good time to again ponder whither goes the venerable Moore’s law. Shrinking feature size has of course been the primary hallmark of achieving Moore’s law... Read more…

By John Russell

Deep Learning Competitors Stalk Nvidia

May 14, 2019

There is no shortage of processing architectures emerging to accelerate deep learning workloads, with two more options emerging this week to challenge GPU leader Nvidia. First, Intel researchers claimed a new deep learning record for image classification on the ResNet-50 convolutional neural network. Separately, Israeli AI chip startup Hailo.ai... Read more…

By George Leopold

Nvidia Embraces Arm, Declares Intent to Accelerate All CPU Architectures

June 17, 2019

As the Top500 list was being announced at ISC in Frankfurt today with an upgraded petascale Arm supercomputer in the top third of the list, Nvidia announced its Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

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

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

Top500 Purely Petaflops; US Maintains Performance Lead

June 17, 2019

With the kick-off of the International Supercomputing Conference (ISC) in Frankfurt this morning, the 53rd Top500 list made its debut, and this one's for petafl Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

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

Cray – and the Cray Brand – to Be Positioned at Tip of HPE’s HPC Spear

May 22, 2019

More so than with most acquisitions of this kind, HPE’s purchase of Cray for $1.3 billion, announced last week, seems to have elements of that overused, often Read more…

By Doug Black and 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

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

In Wake of Nvidia-Mellanox: Xilinx to Acquire Solarflare

April 25, 2019

With echoes of Nvidia’s recent acquisition of Mellanox, FPGA maker Xilinx has announced a definitive agreement to acquire Solarflare Communications, provider Read more…

By Doug Black

Qualcomm Invests in RISC-V Startup SiFive

June 7, 2019

Investors are zeroing in on the open standard RISC-V instruction set architecture and the processor intellectual property being developed by a batch of high-flying chip startups. Last fall, Esperanto Technologies announced a $58 million funding round. Read more…

By George Leopold

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