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Dell, IBM Team For Quantum Computing Emulator

September 28, 2021

Dell Technologies’ Platform to Model Quantum Applications Using IBM Qiskit Runtime Emulator

Meeting the needs of the ever-growing amount of data in today’s digital economy will require an exponential expansion of our compute capacity through a collection of distributed, diverse computing architectures that come together to work as a system – including the ever-evolving space of quantum computing.

Quantum computation offers potential acceleration for simulation, optimization and machine learning algorithm use cases. IT teams around the world are exploring how quantum computing factors into future operations, and, as they take their first steps, there’s a common misperception that the quantum computer will replace all classical compute and therefore can only be accessed using a physical quantum device, either locally or through remote cloud access.

In fact, at this stage in the technology’s development, it is possible to recreate key parts of the quantum environment on classical resources, making the technology more accessible for IT leaders who want to explore the technology, as well as those who have already taken their first steps and want to refine their existing algorithms. This can take the form of a simulator which recreates the quantum aspects of a quantum system, or an emulator, which recreates both the quantum and classical aspects of a quantum system.

Dell Technologies recently worked to test a hybrid emulation platform that leverages Dell EMC PowerEdge R740xd and is built with IBM’s open-source containerized service for quantum computers, Qiskit Runtime. The platform allows the user to replicate Qiskit Runtime locally, and explore how quantum applications will run, using an emulator.

“This hybrid emulation platform represents an important step forward for the Qiskit Ecosystem and the quantum industry as a whole,” said Jay Gambetta, VP of Quantum at IBM. “The platform allows users to work with Qiskit Runtime on their own classical resources, making it easier for both new users and established quantum developers to build and refine their algorithms. We look forward to working with Dell to expand the horizons of the quantum industry.”

The Qiskit Runtime environment is capable of executing calculations using quantum hardware that would previously have taken several weeks in just a single day. As part of the Qiskit project, the technology is completely open source, allowing for third-party integrations and innovations to move the industry forward. The hybrid emulation platform will help make the developer ecosystem more accessible and accelerate use case exploration and algorithm development.

The full details of the tested solution are available on GitHub. The key takeaways from the testing include the following:

Quick Setup – The platform executes both classical and quantum processing on cloud native platforms, such as Kubernetes. Customers can easily deploy to on-premises infrastructure. Previously, users had to submit their data and workloads for processing via the cloud.

Faster Time to Result – Each quantum circuit no longer needs to be executed and wait in queue separately. The classical components of algorithms are tightly integrated with quantum resources, gaining performance improvement, and cutting down development time.

Higher Security – Classical computation, including data processing, optimization, and algorithm execution, can be executed on-premises, providing much higher privacy and security, so data and workloads do not need to be submitted to a third-party.

Cost Efficiency and Choice – Leveraging the capability through an on-premise infrastructure solution may provide incremental cost efficiency and benefit over traditional cloud service providers. In addition, this model provides flexibility when choosing quantum solutions, as it can run using the Qiskit Aer simulator, or other comparable solutions.

As workload volumes grow for quantum computing, classical infrastructure, composed of traditional servers and desktops as well as storage, networking, GPU and FPGAs, also need to scale accordingly. IT leaders need a platform that allows them to efficiently model both quantum and classical calculations on their existing infrastructure – which is exactly what the hybrid emulation platform provides.

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