IBM Debuts Qiskit Runtime for Quantum Computing; Reports Dramatic Speed-up

By John Russell

May 11, 2021

In conjunction with its virtual Think event, IBM today introduced an enhanced Qiskit Runtime Software for quantum computing, which it says demonstrated 120x speedup in simulating molecules. Qiskit is IBM’s quantum software development platform; the new containerized runtime software runs in the IBM Cloud where it leverages IBM classical hardware and proximity to IBM quantum processors to accelerate performance.

An IBM blog by researchers Blake Johnson and Ismael Faro said, “Last fall, we made the ambitious promise to demonstrate a 100x speedup of quantum workloads in our IBM Quantum roadmap for scaling quantum technology. Today, we’re pleased to announce that we didn’t just meet that goal; we beat it. The team demonstrated a 120x speedup in simulating molecules thanks to a host of improvements, including the ability to run quantum programs entirely on the cloud with Qiskit Runtime.”

The necessarily hybrid nature of quantum computing has spurred community-wide efforts to accelerate the classical portion of the work in recent years. Not only have there been improvements in the control elements handled by classical systems, but also there have been steady advancements in understanding how to break up the quantum algorithms themselves with portions of the algorithm run on classical systems. Co-or-nearby-location of classical and quantum compute systems has also shown advantages.

The latest IBM test demonstration repeated a past simulation of lithium hydride molecule. Here’s an excerpt from the blog:

“Back in 2017, the IBM Quantum team demonstrated that a quantum computer could simulate the behavior of the  lithium hydride molecule. However, the process of modeling the LiH molecule would take 45 days with today’s quantum computing services, as circuits repeatedly passed back-and-forth between a classical and quantum processor and introduced large latencies. Now, we can solve the same problem in just nine hours — a 120x speedup.

“A host of improvements went into this feat. Algorithmic improvements reduced the number of iterations of the algorithm required to receive a final answer by two to 10 times. Improvements in system software removed around 17 seconds per iteration. Improved processor performance led to a 10x decrease in the number of shots, or repeated circuit runs, required by each iteration of the algorithm. And finally, improved control systems such as better readout and qubit reset performance reduced the amount of time per job execution (that is, execution of each batch of a few dozen circuits) from 1,000 microseconds to 70 microseconds.”

The researchers noted that until recently IBM mostly focused on the execution of quantum circuits, or sequences of quantum operations, on IBM Quantum systems. “However, real applications also require substantial amounts of classical processing. We use the term quantum program to describe this mixture of quantum circuits and classical processing. Some quantum programs have thousands or even millions of interactions between quantum and classical. Therefore, it is critical to build systems that natively accelerate the execution of quantum programs, and not just quantum circuits,” wrote the Johnson and Faro.

Paul Smith-Goodson, analyst-in-residence for quantum computing at Moor Insights & Strategy, agreed, “Not only is it more efficient, it is also more technically expedient to have classical resources in the cloud. The IBM classical machines are designed and maintained specifically for the process. In that way the end user doesn’t have to worry about such things such as control software, cloud software, capacity, etc.”

Providing context for the lithium hydride simulation, Smith-Goodson said, “Running chemistry simulations is a complicated process. You’re looking for the lowest energy state of the molecule. To find it requires a back and forth process between a classical computer and a quantum computer running many nested loops across the cloud. The process, called ansatz, allows a researcher to make calculations on the classical computer using iterative data from the quantum machine and making continuous adjustments until the ground state is found.

“This process takes a long time, depending on many factors including technical constraints/issues with the classical computer. Qiskit Runtime makes it much easier to run quantum algorithms like VQE (Variational Quantum Eigensolver) to simulate molecules,” said Smith-Goodson.

Along those lines, IBM reported the final boost in performance came from the introduction of the Qiskit Runtime, “Rather than building up latencies as code passes between a user’s device and the cloud-based quantum computer, developers could run their program in the Qiskit Runtime execution environment, where the IBM hybrid cloud handles the work for them. New software architectures and OpenShift Operators allow us to maximize the time spent computing, and minimize the time spent waiting,” wrote the researchers.

Big Blue reiterated its commitment to finding practical quantum computing use cases: “We hope that the Qiskit Runtime will allow users around the world to take full advantage of the 127 qubit IBM Quantum Eagle device slated for this year — or the 1,121-qubit Condor device planned for 2023. Qiskit Runtime is currently in beta for some members of the IBM Quantum Network.”

Overall, activity in quantum computing has mushroomed in recent years, particularly following launch of the U.S. National Quantum Initiative. There’s now a global race to achieve practical quantum computing.

Recent DOE work showcases some of the concrete progress being made. Consider this observation from Raphael Pooser, of Oak Ridge National Laboratory and a PI on DOE’s Quantum Testbed Pathfinder Project, “Two or three years ago, we were seeing that we could work really hard to get interesting results on quantum chemistry out of the quantum computers of the day. The concept of chemical accuracy, which is sort of the gold standard, was in a nutshell very hard to attain on the hardware if you didn’t have an in-house device that you’d built yourself. Fast forward to today, we just got through running this benchmark on the latest quantum computers from IBM, and we have some unpublished results from other devices. These systems’ performances have grown by leaps and bounds. It’s gone from being very hard to achieve chemical accuracy on those same problems three years ago to becoming routine now,” said Pooser. (See HPCwire coverage, Fast Pass Through (Some of) the Quantum Landscape with ORNL’s Raphael Pooser.)

Link to IBM blog: https://www.research.ibm.com/blog/120x-quantum-speedup

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!

Jack Dongarra on SC21, the Top500 and His Retirement Plans

November 29, 2021

HPCwire's Managing Editor sits down with Jack Dongarra, Top500 co-founder and Distinguished Professor at the University of Tennessee, during SC21 in St. Louis to discuss the 2021 Top500 list, the outlook for global exascale computing, and what exactly is going on in that Viking helmet photo. Read more…

SC21: Larry Smarr on The Rise of Supernetwork Data Intensive Computing

November 26, 2021

Larry Smarr, founding director of Calit2 (now Distinguished Professor Emeritus at the University of California San Diego) and the first director of NCSA, is one of the seminal figures in the U.S. supercomputing community. What began as a personal drive, shared by others, to spur the creation of supercomputers in the U.S. for scientific use, later expanded into a... Read more…

Three Chinese Exascale Systems Detailed at SC21: Two Operational and One Delayed

November 24, 2021

Details about two previously rumored Chinese exascale systems came to light during last week’s SC21 proceedings. Asked about these systems during the Top500 media briefing on Monday, Nov. 15, list author and co-founder Jack Dongarra indicated he was aware of some very impressive results, but withheld comment when asked directly if he had... Read more…

SC21’s Student Cluster Competition Winners Announced

November 19, 2021

SC21 may have been the first major supercomputing conference to return to in-person activities, but not everything returned to the live menu: the Student Cluster Competition – held virtually at ISC 2020, SC20 and ISC 2021 – was again held virtually at SC21. Nevertheless, Students@SC Chair Jay Lofstead took the physical stage at SC21 on Thursday to announce the... Read more…

MLPerf Issues HPC 1.0 Benchmark Results Featuring Impressive Systems (Think Fugaku)

November 19, 2021

Earlier this week MLCommons issued results from its latest MLPerf HPC training benchmarking exercise. Unlike other MLPerf benchmarks, which mostly measure the training and inference performance of systems that are availa Read more…

AWS Solution Channel

Royalty-free stock illustration ID: 1616974732

Using the Slurm REST API to integrate with distributed architectures on AWS

The Slurm Workload Manager by SchedMD is a popular HPC scheduler and is supported by AWS ParallelCluster, an elastic HPC cluster management service offered by AWS. Read more…

Gordon Bell Special Prize Goes to World-Shaping COVID Droplet Work

November 18, 2021

For the second (and, hopefully, final) year in a row, SC21 included a second major research award alongside the ACM 2021 Gordon Bell Prize: the Gordon Bell Special Prize for High Performance Computing-Based COVID-19 Research. Last year, the first iteration of this award went to simulations of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein; this year, the prize went... Read more…

Jack Dongarra on SC21, the Top500 and His Retirement Plans

November 29, 2021

HPCwire's Managing Editor sits down with Jack Dongarra, Top500 co-founder and Distinguished Professor at the University of Tennessee, during SC21 in St. Louis to discuss the 2021 Top500 list, the outlook for global exascale computing, and what exactly is going on in that Viking helmet photo. Read more…

SC21: Larry Smarr on The Rise of Supernetwork Data Intensive Computing

November 26, 2021

Larry Smarr, founding director of Calit2 (now Distinguished Professor Emeritus at the University of California San Diego) and the first director of NCSA, is one of the seminal figures in the U.S. supercomputing community. What began as a personal drive, shared by others, to spur the creation of supercomputers in the U.S. for scientific use, later expanded into a... Read more…

Three Chinese Exascale Systems Detailed at SC21: Two Operational and One Delayed

November 24, 2021

Details about two previously rumored Chinese exascale systems came to light during last week’s SC21 proceedings. Asked about these systems during the Top500 media briefing on Monday, Nov. 15, list author and co-founder Jack Dongarra indicated he was aware of some very impressive results, but withheld comment when asked directly if he had... Read more…

SC21’s Student Cluster Competition Winners Announced

November 19, 2021

SC21 may have been the first major supercomputing conference to return to in-person activities, but not everything returned to the live menu: the Student Cluster Competition – held virtually at ISC 2020, SC20 and ISC 2021 – was again held virtually at SC21. Nevertheless, Students@SC Chair Jay Lofstead took the physical stage at SC21 on Thursday to announce the... Read more…

MLPerf Issues HPC 1.0 Benchmark Results Featuring Impressive Systems (Think Fugaku)

November 19, 2021

Earlier this week MLCommons issued results from its latest MLPerf HPC training benchmarking exercise. Unlike other MLPerf benchmarks, which mostly measure the t Read more…

Gordon Bell Special Prize Goes to World-Shaping COVID Droplet Work

November 18, 2021

For the second (and, hopefully, final) year in a row, SC21 included a second major research award alongside the ACM 2021 Gordon Bell Prize: the Gordon Bell Special Prize for High Performance Computing-Based COVID-19 Research. Last year, the first iteration of this award went to simulations of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein; this year, the prize went... Read more…

2021 Gordon Bell Prize Goes to Exascale-Powered Quantum Supremacy Challenge

November 18, 2021

Today at the hybrid virtual/in-person SC21 conference, the organizers announced the winners of the 2021 ACM Gordon Bell Prize: a team of Chinese researchers leveraging the new exascale Sunway system to simulate quantum circuits. The Gordon Bell Prize, which comes with an award of $10,000 courtesy of HPC pioneer Gordon Bell, is awarded annually... Read more…

SC21 Keynote: Internet Pioneer Vint Cerf on Shakespeare, Chatbots, and Being Human

November 17, 2021

Unlike the deep technical dives of many SC keynotes, Internet pioneer Vint Cerf steered clear of the trenches and took leisurely stroll through a range of human-machine interactions, touching on ML’s growing capabilities while noting potholes to be avoided if possible. Cerf, of course, is co-designer with Bob Kahn of the TCP/IP protocols and architecture of the internet. He’s heralded... Read more…

IonQ Is First Quantum Startup to Go Public; Will It be First to Deliver Profits?

November 3, 2021

On October 1 of this year, IonQ became the first pure-play quantum computing start-up to go public. At this writing, the stock (NYSE: IONQ) was around $15 and its market capitalization was roughly $2.89 billion. Co-founder and chief scientist Chris Monroe says it was fun to have a few of the company’s roughly 100 employees travel to New York to ring the opening bell of the New York Stock... Read more…

Enter Dojo: Tesla Reveals Design for Modular Supercomputer & D1 Chip

August 20, 2021

Two months ago, Tesla revealed a massive GPU cluster that it said was “roughly the number five supercomputer in the world,” and which was just a precursor to Tesla’s real supercomputing moonshot: the long-rumored, little-detailed Dojo system. Read more…

Esperanto, Silicon in Hand, Champions the Efficiency of Its 1,092-Core RISC-V Chip

August 27, 2021

Esperanto Technologies made waves last December when it announced ET-SoC-1, a new RISC-V-based chip aimed at machine learning that packed nearly 1,100 cores onto a package small enough to fit six times over on a single PCIe card. Now, Esperanto is back, silicon in-hand and taking aim... Read more…

US Closes in on Exascale: Frontier Installation Is Underway

September 29, 2021

At the Advanced Scientific Computing Advisory Committee (ASCAC) meeting, held by Zoom this week (Sept. 29-30), it was revealed that the Frontier supercomputer is currently being installed at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Oak Ridge, Tenn. The staff at the Oak Ridge Leadership... Read more…

AMD Launches Milan-X CPU with 3D V-Cache and Multichip Instinct MI200 GPU

November 8, 2021

At a virtual event this morning, AMD CEO Lisa Su unveiled the company’s latest and much-anticipated server products: the new Milan-X CPU, which leverages AMD’s new 3D V-Cache technology; and its new Instinct MI200 GPU, which provides up to 220 compute units across two Infinity Fabric-connected dies, delivering an astounding 47.9 peak double-precision teraflops. “We're in a high-performance computing megacycle, driven by the growing need to deploy additional compute performance... Read more…

Intel Reorgs HPC Group, Creates Two ‘Super Compute’ Groups

October 15, 2021

Following on changes made in June that moved Intel’s HPC unit out of the Data Platform Group and into the newly created Accelerated Computing Systems and Graphics (AXG) business unit, led by Raja Koduri, Intel is making further updates to the HPC group and announcing... Read more…

Intel Completes LLVM Adoption; Will End Updates to Classic C/C++ Compilers in Future

August 10, 2021

Intel reported in a blog this week that its adoption of the open source LLVM architecture for Intel’s C/C++ compiler is complete. The transition is part of In Read more…

Killer Instinct: AMD’s Multi-Chip MI200 GPU Readies for a Major Global Debut

October 21, 2021

AMD’s next-generation supercomputer GPU is on its way – and by all appearances, it’s about to make a name for itself. The AMD Radeon Instinct MI200 GPU (a successor to the MI100) will, over the next year, begin to power three massive systems on three continents: the United States’ exascale Frontier system; the European Union’s pre-exascale LUMI system; and Australia’s petascale Setonix system. Read more…

Leading Solution Providers

Contributors

Hot Chips: Here Come the DPUs and IPUs from Arm, Nvidia and Intel

August 25, 2021

The emergence of data processing units (DPU) and infrastructure processing units (IPU) as potentially important pieces in cloud and datacenter architectures was Read more…

D-Wave Embraces Gate-Based Quantum Computing; Charts Path Forward

October 21, 2021

Earlier this month D-Wave Systems, the quantum computing pioneer that has long championed quantum annealing-based quantum computing (and sometimes taken heat fo Read more…

Ahead of ‘Dojo,’ Tesla Reveals Its Massive Precursor Supercomputer

June 22, 2021

In spring 2019, Tesla made cryptic reference to a project called Dojo, a “super-powerful training computer” for video data processing. Then, in summer 2020, Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted: “Tesla is developing a [neural network] training computer... Read more…

HPE Wins $2B GreenLake HPC-as-a-Service Deal with NSA

September 1, 2021

In the heated, oft-contentious, government IT space, HPE has won a massive $2 billion contract to provide HPC and AI services to the United States’ National Security Agency (NSA). Following on the heels of the now-canceled $10 billion JEDI contract (reissued as JWCC) and a $10 billion... Read more…

The Latest MLPerf Inference Results: Nvidia GPUs Hold Sway but Here Come CPUs and Intel

September 22, 2021

The latest round of MLPerf inference benchmark (v 1.1) results was released today and Nvidia again dominated, sweeping the top spots in the closed (apples-to-ap Read more…

Quantum Computer Market Headed to $830M in 2024

September 13, 2021

What is one to make of the quantum computing market? Energized (lots of funding) but still chaotic and advancing in unpredictable ways (e.g. competing qubit tec Read more…

10nm, 7nm, 5nm…. Should the Chip Nanometer Metric Be Replaced?

June 1, 2020

The biggest cool factor in server chips is the nanometer. AMD beating Intel to a CPU built on a 7nm process node* – with 5nm and 3nm on the way – has been i Read more…

2021 Gordon Bell Prize Goes to Exascale-Powered Quantum Supremacy Challenge

November 18, 2021

Today at the hybrid virtual/in-person SC21 conference, the organizers announced the winners of the 2021 ACM Gordon Bell Prize: a team of Chinese researchers leveraging the new exascale Sunway system to simulate quantum circuits. The Gordon Bell Prize, which comes with an award of $10,000 courtesy of HPC pioneer Gordon Bell, is awarded annually... Read more…

  • arrow
  • Click Here for More Headlines
  • arrow
HPCwire