US Energy Department lab bolsters quantum computing resources

Researchers at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory are getting cloud access to a D-Wave 2000Q system, allowing them to explore hybrid computing architectures.

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The US Energy Department (DOE) is partnering with D-Wave to give researchers at its largest open science lab access to more quantum computing resources.

Per the agreement, researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) in Tennessee will have cloud access to a D-Wave 2000Q system, allowing them to explore hybrid computing architectures. Their work is particularly targeted at helping accelerate Exascale applications.

"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, in a statement. "This program is also a natural extension of the Lab's leadership in high-performance computing, with the next step being to accelerate the nation's Exascale program."

The partnership with D-Wave is part of the DOE's Exascale Computing Project, an initiative on which it's spending $350 million annually. DOE is racing against China to reach exascale computing and recently announced it's partnering with AMD, Cray, HPE, IBM, Intel, and Nvidia to develop a supercomputer capable of hitting one exaflop.

In recent years, a pair of Chinese supercomputers have held the top two spots in the Top500 supercomputer list. The Titan system at ORNL ranks third.

As part of its new efforts, ORNL will work with D-Wave personnel to map applications to the D-Wave architecture. ORNL and D-Wave plan to share the results of the collaboration to enable improved hybrid computing applications.

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