Fujitsu is launching the Fujitsu Quantum-inspired Computing Digital Annealer Cloud Service, a new service designed to quickly solve combinatorial optimization problems.
The service is available in Japan beginning today, and will be rolled out to North America, Europe, and Asia during fiscal 2018.
The Digital Annealer Cloud Service promises to be useful in a wide variety of areas that cannot currently be handled by traditional computers due to the massive computational volume required. This not only includes issues that companies in a range of industries face, such as speeding up the search of similarities in molecules for drug discovery, optimizing portfolios in finance, personalizing advertisements in digital marketing, and optimizing the arrangement of warehoused components for factories and logistics, but also challenges confronting society at large, such as transportation congestion and disaster recovery planning.
In addition to deploying this new cloud service, Fujitsu is also launching the Fujitsu Digital Annealer Technical Service to support the application development for its customers to define issues, as well as build and utilize mathematical models.
In today's quantum computers (quantum annealing machines), there are enormous limitations with hardware, and there are many technical problems to overcome in order to easily solve problems at a practical scale.
To overcome this challenge, in 2016 Fujitsu Laboratories Ltd. announced its Digital Annealer, an architecture dedicated for combinatorial optimization problems, that has the advantages of digital circuitry, namely, a high degree of flexibility in design and noise resistance, as well as high speed inspired by quantum phenomena. Fujitsu Limited has been working to develop services based on this technology.
The Digital Annealer adopts a fully linked design in which the elements within the computer can freely exchange signals with one another. The 1,024 individual bits have full bonding connectivity, and moreover, as it can express bonding power minutely in 65,536 gradations, it has become possible to solve complex and large-scale problems that current quantum annealing machines cannot handle.
Furthermore, the utilization of digital circuitry makes it resistant to the impact of noise, making it possible to operate with stability at room temperature, without using special cooling devices.
In order to expand the applicable fields of the Digital Annealer Cloud Service, Fujitsu is globally collaborating with 1QB Information Technologies Inc. (1QBit), the vendor of software for quantum computers, and from fiscal 2018 it will be possible to also use a Digital Annealer via 1QBit's cloud service.
Fujitsu is additionally strengthening its partnership with the University of Toronto, and is currently conducting five joint research projects covering Digital Annealer applications in the four fields of transportation, networking, finance, and healthcare.
Fujitsu is bringing together three of its technologies-high-performance computing (HPC), which offers massively parallel computational processing, Deep Learning to elicit AI, and the Digital Annealer-so that their respective strengths can support one another in tackling the challenges facing companies and society. Fujitsu's Digital Annealer that requires advanced-level data analysis technology will work in tandem with personnel possessing advanced AI skills to establish a new AI Headquarters in Vancouver in the first half of fiscal 2018.
Fujitsu plans to expand the full-scale links in the Digital Annealer from the current 1,024 bits to 8,192 bits, while increasing the precision from 16 bits to up to 64 bits (18.45 quintillion gradations), developing a dedicated Digital Annealing processor, the Digital Annealing Unit (DAU), using Fujitsu's processor development technology and the latest CMOS technology. In so doing, Fujitsu aims for applications for ever-larger-scale problems. This will enable calculations even for complex problems in society, such as traffic congestion and disaster recovery.