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RIKEN plans for integrated use of quantum computers and supercomputers: Platform research and development project launched


A research group led by Deputy Director Mitsuhisa Sato (Director of the Quantum-HPC Hybrid Platform Division) of the RIKEN Center for Computational Science announced on November 22 that they will launch a platform research and development project for the collaborative use of quantum computers and supercomputers (HPC). The quantum and HPC collaboration platform will be operational in 2026 and is planned for inclusion in the post-5G era network by SoftBank in FY2028.

The project was proposed and adopted by RIKEN and SoftBank Corp. as the "Research and Development of quantum-supercomputers hybrid platform for exploration of uncharted computable capabilities" in NEDO's "Research and Development Project of the Enhanced Infrastructures for Post-5G Information and Communication Systems" to be conducted in cooperation with the University of Tokyo and Osaka University.

Overview of the Quantum/HPC Hybrid Platform.
Provided by RIKEN

Quantum computers operate on a completely different principle than that characteristic of conventional computers and are expected to be able to quickly obtain solutions to various problems (e.g., by efficiently simulating quantum behavior, such as electronic states, in molecules). Optimizing and utilizing the system in combination with conventional computers for practical use is a promising approach to counter errors that occur. Accordingly, RIKEN are now researching and developing the linkage with HPC for the full-scale use of quantum computers.

This achievement will provide a hybrid infrastructure that mitigates errors in quantum computers through linkage with HPC. The goal is to develop system software for quantum/HPC collaboration.

The size of the research budget is expected to be several tens of billions of yen over five years after the stage-gate review.

The quantum/HPC collaboration system software consists of "quantum/HPC collaboration remote procedure call system software" that connects multiple quantum computers and HPC and a "quantum/HPC collaboration scheduler." Plans include conducting mutual use trials with the University of Tokyo and Osaka University.

Considering that various types of quantum computers are being developed, the project aims to verify optimal and effective usage patterns by combining multiple types of quantum computers and HPC to build a state-of-the-art platform.

A superconducting type and ion trap type quantum computers are among those being developed. Specifically, a superconducting computer (more than 100 qubits) manufactured by IBM will be introduced at the RIKEN Kobe Campus Center for Computational Science, and an ion trap quantum computer (more than 20 qubits) manufactured by Quantinuum Ltd. will be installed at the RIKEN Wako Campus. Before these systems are introduced, they will be used in quantum computer simulators and via the cloud.

The quantum computer to be installed in the Wako area will be accessed from the HPC 'Fugaku' via a wide area network. RIKEN also plans to use the developed platform to develop quantum/HPC collaborative applications. They intend to verify areas that are unreachable with conventional HPC and the effectiveness of the systems.

This article has been translated by JST with permission from The Science News Ltd. ( Unauthorized reproduction of the article and photographs is prohibited.

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