Toshiba Corp. claims that its Simulated Bifurcation algorithm for desktop PCs crunches market data faster than today’s most advanced supercomputers.
Originated from research on quantum bifurcation machines, the SBM (Simulated Bifurcation Machine) is a practical and ready-to-use ISING machine that solves large-scale "combinatorial optimization problems" at high speed.
The algorithm needs not any special hardware, and it can be implemented on general-purpose computers. It was used to solved the 1 million spin MAX-CUT problem in a PC cluster environment. And it was 100 times faster than a simulated annealing method, now widely used to solve a Ising problem.
Toshiba said its system is capable of calculating arbitrage opportunities for currencies in microseconds. The company has hired financial professionals to work on the project, and aims to complete a real-world trial by March 2021.
Toshiba presents SBM as perhaps the next best thing after quantum computing. However, the claim is being met with a mix of intrigue and skepticism at financial firms in Tokyo and around the world.
“You can just plug it into a server and run it at room temperature,” Kosuke Tatsumura, a senior research scientist at Toshiba’s Computer & Network Systems Laboratory, said in an interview with Bloomberg.
Toshiba has said it needs a partner to adopt the algorithm for real-world use, and financial firms have taken notice as they grapple for an edge in markets increasingly dominated by machines. Banks, brokerages and asset managers have all been experimenting with quantum computing, although viable applications are generally considered to be some time away.
Other applications could include things like plotting complex shipping and logistics routes and developing new drugs with molecular precision, according to the company.
Toshiba revealed its Simulated Bifurcation Algorithm in April. In October, the company announced that its model had identified potential arbitrage opportunities in currency trading in just 30 microseconds -- fast enough, it claimed, to give it a 90% chance of making profitable trades.
Toshiba is hoping it will succeed in commercializing its technology.