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IBM announces Q System One, a quantum computer in a 9ft cube At the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, IBM unveiled a new quantum computer that is more reliable than its previous experimental prototypes, bringing the company a step closer to commercialization of this technology. IBM The machine, which it claims is the first integrated, general-purpose quantum computer, has been named the ‘Q System One.’ To mark what it calls “an iconic moment” for the business, IBM turned to designers at Map Project Office and Universal Design Studio, tasking them with developing a unique glass enclosure. Rather than operating with bits that are in the state of 0 or 1, like classical computers, IBM’s circuit model quantum computer has trapped quantum bits that can appear in both states at once, theoretically allowing for significantly more computing power - for the right applications. The System One is enclosed in a nine foot sealed cube, made of half-inch thick borosilicate glass. The case opens using “roto-translation,” or motor-driven rotation around two displaced axes - something the company says simplifies the system’s maintenance and upgrade process, and minimizes downtime. “The IBM Q System One is a major step forward in the commercialization of quantum computing,” Arvind Krishna, SVP of Hybrid Cloud and director of IBM Research, said.

Jülich Supercomputing Centre gets €36m for HPC, quantum and neuromorphic computing The Jülich Supercomputing Centre has been awarded €36 million (US$41m) to research future computing technologies, including quantum computing and neuromorphic computing. The German high performance computing center will receive €32.4m ($37m) from the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), and €3.6m ($4.1m) from the Ministry of Culture and Science of North Rhine-Westphalia. “As a federal government, we want to further develop the technological basis of digitization and artificial intelligence, in particular, in order to safeguard the future of Germany as a federal state,” the parliamentary state secretary of the BMBF and Member of the Bundestag, Thomas Rachel, said (translated). The Jülich Research Centre (which includes JSC) is currently home to the ‘Jülich Wizard for European Leadership Science’ (JUWELS) supercomputer, which has a theoretical peak performance of 12 petaflops. That figure is expected to grow this year thanks to a “booster” upgrade, designed for massively parallel algorithms that run more

efficiently on a manycore platform. JUWELS, and its predecessor JUQEEN, have been used extensively in the Human Brain Project, an ambitious EU-funded effort the increase our understanding of the human brain by emulating its components (see DCD Magazine Issue 30). JSR’s brain research is headed by Professor Katrin Amunts, director of the Institute of Neuroscience and Medicine (INM). Working “with an international technology company in the field of machine learning,” Amunts’ team is building a detailed digital map of the structure and function of the human brain, which helps with the development of neuro-inspired computing technologies. As for quantum computing, JSR currently holds the record for the highest number of qubits simulated using a supercomputer - 48. With the additional funding, JSR will set up new scientific institutes with more than 100 additional scientists to be recruited.

AI chip startup Graphcore raises $200m from BMW, Microsoft and others AI silicon start-up Graphcore has closed its Series D fundraising round, adding $200m from existing investors, as well as companies like Microsoft and BMW’s i Ventures. The UK-based company, which was founded in 2016, has begun shipping its Intelligence Processing Unit (IPU), a chip it claims is significantly faster at running certain machine learning inference and training workloads that either CPUs or GPUs. Currently, only early access customers have access to IPUs, but Graphcore says it is now ramping up to meet high volume production. With the market growing at speed, several chip design startups have received attention and investment, including Cambricon, Horizon Robotics and Cerebras Systems, but with limited deployments and a rapidly changing field, it is hard to evaluate the usefulness of current products.


Issue 31 • February 2019 13

Profile for DCD Magazine

DCD>Magazine Issue 31 - Exascale  

DCD>Magazine Issue 31 - Exascale