Bridging Superconductor and Semiconductor Technology for the Next Generation of Supercomputers

February 25, 2021

Feb. 25, 2021 — The next generation of supercomputers – including quantum computers – is at a crucial point: Tomorrow’s high-performance computers are at their physical limit in terms of miniaturization of their components; at the same time, they must be more energy-efficient and increase in performance. In this context, the international research network SuperGate coordinated by the University of Konstanz is creating a new basis: The researchers are developing a bridging technology that combines superconductor technology with semiconductor technology, using an approach that was considered physically impossible until just a few years ago. “We are opening a completely new scientific field here”, says Prof. Angelo Di Bernardo, a physics professor in Konstanz, who jointly with Prof. Wolfgang Belzig and Prof. Elke Scheer forms the Konstanz team of the international research network. The research project is funded with around 3 million euros through an FET Open Grant (FET: Future and Emerging Technologies) of the European Union.

“Superconductor technology and semiconductor technology rely on completely different concepts”, explains Elke Scheer: Semiconductors are controlled by voltage and operate at room temperature. Superconductors, on the other hand, are based on current and operate at temperatures of around -270 degree centigrade, near absolute zero. It is of great interest in high-performance computer development to combine the more powerful and more energy-efficient superconductor technology with existing semiconductor technology. Until a few years ago, however, both systems were considered incompatible.

A path-breaking discovery

In 2018 researchers made a path-breaking discovery: Physicists at the Istituto Nanoscienze CNR at NEST – Scuola Normale Superiore in Pisa (Italy) demonstrated that it was also possible to use voltage to control the current in superconductors. “The basic proof was provided, but how exactly and why this works is still not entirely clear”, says Angelo Di Bernardo. “Now we need to detect the underlying physical mechanism. If we understand that mechanism and the principles behind it, we can control it and use it for technical applications.”

This fundamental discovery paves the way for hybrid computing platforms that combine superconductor with semiconductor technology. “Our aim is to design high-performance superconducting circuits that can be operated as if they were based on semiconductor technologies – and thus combine the advantages of both systems”, underlines Elke Scheer.

Four steps to achieve the goal

The international project cooperation includes four steps: “Firstly, we will shed light onto the physical mechanism that makes it possible to control the state of a superconducting material via the application of a voltage”, specifies Angelo Di Bernardo. “Secondly, we will research which are the best materials for technical applications. The third step will be to implement our concepts in a prototype device, and our fourth and final goal is to integrate this new superconductor technology in an electric circuit which interacts with conventional semiconductor technology.”

FET Open Grant

The collaborative research project, which is coordinated by Elke Scheer and which is jointly performed with Angelo Di Bernardo and Wolfgang Belzig, is funded through an FET Open Grant. With this highly competitive funding programme, the EU supports the early stages of new ideas towards the development of radically new future technologies. Alongside the University of Konstanz and the CNR laboratories at Pisa and Salerno, also the Budapest University of Technology and Economics, the Delft University of Technology and the Chalmers University of Technology at Gothenburg as well as partners from industry (SeeQC) in Italy are involved in the project.

Key facts:

  • The international research network “Gate Tuneable Superconducting Quantum Electronics” (SuperGate) is funded through an FET Open Grant of the European Union.
  • Funding sum: around 3 million euros
  • Funding period: March 2021 to August 2024
  • Project coordination: Professor Elke Scheer, University of Konstanz
  • Topic: Researching the physical mechanism of how voltage can be used to control superconductors, with the goal of developing an interfacing technology between superconductor and semiconductor technology for future supercomputers.
  • Project partners: University of Konstanz, CNR laboratories at Pisa and Salerno, Budapest University of Technology and Economics, Delft University of Technology, Chalmers University of Technology at Gothenburg, SeeQC-EU (Italy)

Source: University of Konstanz 

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!

Cerebras Doubles AI Performance with Second-Gen 7nm Wafer Scale Engine

April 20, 2021

Nearly two years since its massive 1.2 trillion transistor Wafer Scale Engine chip debuted at Hot Chips, Cerebras Systems is announcing its second-generation technology (WSE-2), which its says packs twice the performance Read more…

The New Scalability

April 20, 2021

HPC is all about scalability. The most powerful systems. The biggest data sets. The most cores, the most bytes, the most flops, the most bandwidth. HPC scales! Notwithstanding a few recurring arguments over the last twenty years about scaling up versus scaling out, the definition of scalability... Read more…

Supercomputer-Powered Climate Model Makes Startling Sea Level Rise Prediction

April 19, 2021

The climate science community is tasked with striking a difficult balance: inspiring precisely the amount of alarm commensurate to the climate crisis. Make estimates that are too conservative, and the public might not re Read more…

San Diego Supercomputer Center Opens ‘Expanse’ to Industry Users

April 15, 2021

When San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) at the University of California San Diego was getting ready to deploy its flagship Expanse supercomputer for the large research community it supports, it also sought to optimize Read more…

GTC21: Dell Building Cloud Native Supercomputers at U Cambridge and Durham

April 14, 2021

In conjunction with GTC21, Dell Technologies today announced new supercomputers at universities across DiRAC (Distributed Research utilizing Advanced Computing) in the UK with plans to explore use of Nvidia BlueField DPU technology. The University of Cambridge will expand... Read more…

AWS Solution Channel

Research computing with RONIN on AWS

To allow more visibility into and management of Amazon Web Services (AWS) resources and expenses and minimize the cloud skills training required to operate these resources, AWS Partner RONIN created the RONIN research computing platform. Read more…

The Role and Potential of CPUs in Deep Learning

April 14, 2021

Deep learning (DL) applications have unique architectural characteristics and efficiency requirements. Hence, the choice of computing system has a profound impact on how large a piece of the DL pie a user can finally enj Read more…

Cerebras Doubles AI Performance with Second-Gen 7nm Wafer Scale Engine

April 20, 2021

Nearly two years since its massive 1.2 trillion transistor Wafer Scale Engine chip debuted at Hot Chips, Cerebras Systems is announcing its second-generation te Read more…

The New Scalability

April 20, 2021

HPC is all about scalability. The most powerful systems. The biggest data sets. The most cores, the most bytes, the most flops, the most bandwidth. HPC scales! Notwithstanding a few recurring arguments over the last twenty years about scaling up versus scaling out, the definition of scalability... Read more…

San Diego Supercomputer Center Opens ‘Expanse’ to Industry Users

April 15, 2021

When San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) at the University of California San Diego was getting ready to deploy its flagship Expanse supercomputer for the larg Read more…

GTC21: Dell Building Cloud Native Supercomputers at U Cambridge and Durham

April 14, 2021

In conjunction with GTC21, Dell Technologies today announced new supercomputers at universities across DiRAC (Distributed Research utilizing Advanced Computing) in the UK with plans to explore use of Nvidia BlueField DPU technology. The University of Cambridge will expand... Read more…

The Role and Potential of CPUs in Deep Learning

April 14, 2021

Deep learning (DL) applications have unique architectural characteristics and efficiency requirements. Hence, the choice of computing system has a profound impa Read more…

GTC21: Nvidia Launches cuQuantum; Dips a Toe in Quantum Computing

April 13, 2021

Yesterday Nvidia officially dipped a toe into quantum computing with the launch of cuQuantum SDK, a development platform for simulating quantum circuits on GPU-accelerated systems. As Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang emphasized in his keynote, Nvidia doesn’t plan to build... Read more…

Nvidia Aims Clara Healthcare at Drug Discovery, Imaging via DGX

April 12, 2021

Nvidia Corp. continues to expand its Clara healthcare platform with the addition of computational drug discovery and medical imaging tools based on its DGX A100 platform, related InfiniBand networking and its AGX developer kit. The Clara partnerships announced during... Read more…

Nvidia Serves Up Its First Arm Datacenter CPU ‘Grace’ During Kitchen Keynote

April 12, 2021

Today at Nvidia’s annual spring GPU Technology Conference (GTC), held virtually once more due to the pandemic, the company unveiled its first ever Arm-based CPU, called Grace in honor of the famous American programmer Grace Hopper. The announcement of the new... Read more…

Julia Update: Adoption Keeps Climbing; Is It a Python Challenger?

January 13, 2021

The rapid adoption of Julia, the open source, high level programing language with roots at MIT, shows no sign of slowing according to data from Julialang.org. I Read more…

Intel Launches 10nm ‘Ice Lake’ Datacenter CPU with Up to 40 Cores

April 6, 2021

The wait is over. Today Intel officially launched its 10nm datacenter CPU, the third-generation Intel Xeon Scalable processor, codenamed Ice Lake. With up to 40 Read more…

CERN Is Betting Big on Exascale

April 1, 2021

The European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) involves 23 countries, 15,000 researchers, billions of dollars a year, and the biggest machine in the worl Read more…

Programming the Soon-to-Be World’s Fastest Supercomputer, Frontier

January 5, 2021

What’s it like designing an app for the world’s fastest supercomputer, set to come online in the United States in 2021? The University of Delaware’s Sunita Chandrasekaran is leading an elite international team in just that task. Chandrasekaran, assistant professor of computer and information sciences, recently was named... Read more…

HPE Launches Storage Line Loaded with IBM’s Spectrum Scale File System

April 6, 2021

HPE today launched a new family of storage solutions bundled with IBM’s Spectrum Scale Erasure Code Edition parallel file system (description below) and featu 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…

Saudi Aramco Unveils Dammam 7, Its New Top Ten Supercomputer

January 21, 2021

By revenue, oil and gas giant Saudi Aramco is one of the largest companies in the world, and it has historically employed commensurate amounts of supercomputing Read more…

Quantum Computer Start-up IonQ Plans IPO via SPAC

March 8, 2021

IonQ, a Maryland-based quantum computing start-up working with ion trap technology, plans to go public via a Special Purpose Acquisition Company (SPAC) merger a Read more…

Leading Solution Providers

Contributors

Can Deep Learning Replace Numerical Weather Prediction?

March 3, 2021

Numerical weather prediction (NWP) is a mainstay of supercomputing. Some of the first applications of the first supercomputers dealt with climate modeling, and Read more…

Livermore’s El Capitan Supercomputer to Debut HPE ‘Rabbit’ Near Node Local Storage

February 18, 2021

A near node local storage innovation called Rabbit factored heavily into Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory’s decision to select Cray’s proposal for its CORAL-2 machine, the lab’s first exascale-class supercomputer, El Capitan. Details of this new storage technology were revealed... Read more…

New Deep Learning Algorithm Solves Rubik’s Cube

July 25, 2018

Solving (and attempting to solve) Rubik’s Cube has delighted millions of puzzle lovers since 1974 when the cube was invented by Hungarian sculptor and archite Read more…

African Supercomputing Center Inaugurates ‘Toubkal,’ Most Powerful Supercomputer on the Continent

February 25, 2021

Historically, Africa hasn’t exactly been synonymous with supercomputing. There are only a handful of supercomputers on the continent, with few ranking on the Read more…

AMD Launches Epyc ‘Milan’ with 19 SKUs for HPC, Enterprise and Hyperscale

March 15, 2021

At a virtual launch event held today (Monday), AMD revealed its third-generation Epyc “Milan” CPU lineup: a set of 19 SKUs -- including the flagship 64-core, 280-watt 7763 part --  aimed at HPC, enterprise and cloud workloads. Notably, the third-gen Epyc Milan chips achieve 19 percent... Read more…

The History of Supercomputing vs. COVID-19

March 9, 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic poses a greater challenge to the high-performance computing community than any before. HPCwire's coverage of the supercomputing response t Read more…

HPE Names Justin Hotard New HPC Chief as Pete Ungaro Departs

March 2, 2021

HPE CEO Antonio Neri announced today (March 2, 2021) the appointment of Justin Hotard as general manager of HPC, mission critical solutions and labs, effective Read more…

GTC21: Nvidia Launches cuQuantum; Dips a Toe in Quantum Computing

April 13, 2021

Yesterday Nvidia officially dipped a toe into quantum computing with the launch of cuQuantum SDK, a development platform for simulating quantum circuits on GPU-accelerated systems. As Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang emphasized in his keynote, Nvidia doesn’t plan to build... Read more…

  • arrow
  • Click Here for More Headlines
  • arrow
HPCwire