Europe’s First Quantum Computer with More Than 5,000 Qubits Officially Launched at JSC

On 17 January 2022, a quantum annealer with more than 5,000 qubits was officially put into operation at Forschungszentrum Jülich. The Jülich Supercomputing Centre (JSC) and D-Wave Systems, a leading provider of quantum computing systems, launched the company’s first cloud-based quantum service outside North America. The annealing quantum computer is part of the Jülich UNified Infrastructure for Quantum computing (JUNIQ), which was established in autumn 2019 to provide researchers in Germany and Europe with access to various quantum systems.

The launch ceremony took place as a hybrid event at JSC in the presence of Minister-President of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) Hendrik Wüst, European Commis¬sioner Mariya Gabriel, and CMO, Global Marketing and Public Affairs Jennifer Houston from D-Wave Systems. The Federal Minister of Education and Research Bettina Stark-Watzinger and D-Wave CEO Alan Baratz attended via video link. In their welcoming remarks, all of the speakers emphasized that quantum computers promise enormous opportunities for our future and for research, and highlighted the importance of collaboration in the development of practical quantum applications across industry sectors and research fields. The launch of the quantum annealer within the JUNIQ user infrastructure is expected to propel Germany and Europe to an international leadership role in quantum computing. The state government of NRW and the Federal Ministry of Education and Research are each providing € 5 million in funding to support the establishment of JUNIQ.

The new quantum system is the second D-Wave quantum computer to be used within the JUNIQ user infrastructure and is the world’s first Advantage™ quantum annealer to be located outside the North American continent. The Quantum Information Processing group at JSC, headed by Prof. Kristel Michielsen, will operate the system directly at Jülich, which gives JSC the opportunity to integrate it closely with its supercomputing infrastructure.

The new system is an annealing quantum computer. This type of quantum system has the potential to be particularly well suited for solving challenging optimization problems that are especially relevant to industry. These include the efficient control of traffic flows and the training of neural networks for artificial intelligence applications. D-Wave is a leading manufacturer of such quantum systems. Clients of the company have developed early quantum applications in a diverse range of areas such as financial modelling, flight planning, election modelling, quantum chemistry simulation, automotive engineering, healthcare, logistics, and more.

The quantum annealer is housed in a new building that was especially erected for the operation of quantum computers. Quantum computing systems require a special, vibration-free location. The building’s two machine halls therefore feature special vibration-damping foundations to absorb tremors. Alongside the D-Wave system, the building will host an additional quantum computer as of next year. Further information can be found at https://fz-juelich.de/ias/jsc/juniq.

Contact: Prof. Kristel Michielsen

from JSC News No. 286, 7 February 2022

Last Modified: 05.07.2022