MUNICH, Oct. 5, 2022 – The Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences and Humanities will become a European center for a top-class quantum computer which will be integrated with a classical supercomputer. This decision was made by the Governing Board of the European High Performance Computing Joint Undertaking (EuroHPC JU) at its meeting in Luxembourg on October 3-4, 2022.
As one of the three national supercomputing centers of the Gauss Centre for Supercomputing (GCS), the LRZ had applied for the European tender and convinced the funding bodies. The idea behind the “European Quantum Computing for Exascale-HPC” project, or Euro-Q-Exa for short, is to integrate quantum processors into supercomputing and thus make the new computer technology easier to use by scientists. A wide range of application scenarios from various research disciplines as well as from industry and society will be researched in Bavaria with the help of Europe’s quantum computer. The project is funded by the EuroHPC JU, the Federal Ministry of Education and Research and the Hightech Agenda of the Free State of Bavaria.
Using Partnerships and Synergies to Build the System
Quantum computing as a technology is currently moving from the experimental stage to becoming available to a broader range of applications. Data centers around the world, including the LRZ, are already testing the first quantum processors and making them available to their users. However, operating systems, development environments, software and tools for controlling quantum processing units (QPUs) and for optimizing and controlling their computing performance are still lacking for widespread use. To build the quantum computer, the EU called for a hybrid system in which quantum processors are integrated with a supercomputer, thus making the system faster and at the same time making it possible to control them from the supercomputer. The LRZ can already build on practical experience as well as on results and synergies that its Quantum Integration Centre (QIC) is developing with partners from industry and academia in various research projects.
In an innovation partnership with hardware providers, Bavaria’s leading academic computing center is also currently researching and developing the technology for an innovative supercomputer capable of more than a quintillion computing operations per second (exascale: 1018; a trillion by European numbering standards). This system is supposed to feature quantum processors as well.
Step by Step: Building the European Quantum Computer
The Euro-Q-Exa system will be realized in two steps. As early as 2023, the LRZ will make the quantum demonstrator Q-Exa, financed by the BMBF, available to European users. A 100-qubit system will then be added in further steps by 2026 via a classic public tender procedure.
However, it is still uncertain as to which science sectors will benefit the most from the new quantum computer. Among the fields that hope to benefit, users from materials sciences, (molecular) chemistry and biology, and IT/security measures are among the best positioned to benefit from the technology at the beginning—in other words, research disciplines with previously unsolvable questions.
Prof. Dr. Dieter Kranzlmüller, Chair of the Board of Directors of the LRZ, commented: “We are delighted about the decision of the EuroHPC-JU, not only for the LRZ, but also for the Munich Quantum Valley (MQV) and the greater Munich area as a quantum technology hotspot. This is a great sign of trust in our previous research and development work, which we will now consistently transfer into a productive system for our users. The LRZ and its quantum computing and technologies team are highly motivated to make versatile quantum computing resources available to European, German and Bavarian scientists – in a sustainable, convenient and scalable manner.”
About the LRZ
The Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) proudly stands at the forefront of its field as a world-class IT service and computing user facility serving Munich’s top universities as well as research institutions in Bavaria, Germany and Europe. As an institute of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences and Humanities, LRZ has provided a robust, holistic IT infrastructure for its users throughout the scientific community for nearly sixty years. It offers the complete range of resources, services, consulting and support–from email, web servers and Internet access to virtual machines, cloud solutions, data storage and the Munich Scientific Network (MWN).
Home to SuperMUC-NG, LRZ is part of Germany’s Gauss Centre for Supercomputing (GCS) and serves as part of the nation’s backbone for the advanced research and discovery possible through high-performance computing (HPC). In addition to current systems, LRZ’s Future Computing Group focuses on the evaluation of emerging Exascale-class architectures and technologies, development of highly scalable machine learning and artificial intelligence applications, and system integration of quantum acceleration with supercomputing systems.