HPC and Quantum Computing experts partner to create the first Exascale applications




  • ORNL and D-Wave hope that by combining their expertise in HPC and Quantum computing they can make Exascale computing a reality sooner rather than later


Just a couple of months after the US Department of Energy (DoE)  announced their partnership with HPE and their “future of computing” memory driven “Machine” platform, Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) announced this week that they’re partnering with D-Wave, the famed Quantum computing pioneer, to leverage their quantum computing platform with the aim of using it to help them accelerate the development of exascale computing applications that can process over a billion billion calculations every second – something that’s becoming even more of a political hot potato as China gets ready to turn on the world’s first exascale supercomputer as early as 2018.


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Under the agreement, ORNL scientists will have cloud access to D-Wave’s 2000Q, a 2000 Qubit quantum computing system, hence the name, that will let them experiment with and explore the next generation hybrid computing architectures that they hope one day will help them create better and faster exascale applications.

ORNL, who employ over 5,000 scientists and engineers across more than 100 disciplines, is a multi-program “transformative science and technology” research laboratory that’s dedicated to helping ensure America’s security and prosperity by addressing its energy, environmental and nuclear challenges so they’re no strangers to bleeding edge, and they’re increasingly investigating the use of quantum, neuromorphic and other new computing paradigms in an attempt to accelerate the ambitions and aspirations of the DoE.

“The D-Wave 2000Q system fits squarely within our objective of providing distinctive equipment and unique facilities to our researchers to solve some of the nation’s most compelling computing challenges,” said Dr. Jeff Nichols, Associate Laboratory Director of Computing and Computational Sciences at ORNL, “this program is a natural extension of the lab’s leadership in high-performance computing, with the next step being to accelerate the nation’s exascale program.”


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As part of the joint effort, D-Wave personnel will work with ORNL to map applications directly into the D-Wave architecture and attempt to solve new types of problems, as well as solve existing ones faster by combining the two computer architectures together.

“Advancing the problem solving capabilities of quantum computing takes dedicated collaboration with leading scientists and industry experts,” said Robert Ewald, President of D-Wave, “our work with ORNL’s exceptional community of researchers and scientists will help us understand the potential of new hybrid computing architectures, and hopefully lead to faster and better solutions for critical and complex problems.”

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