Launch of JUNIQ
Jülich, 25 October 2019 - "We are counting on quantum computers" is the guiding principle at the Jülich Supercomputing Centre, where JUNIQ, the new "Jülich UNified Infrastructure for Quantum computing" has been put into operation. The go-ahead was given with the official signing of a user contract for a quantum annealer from the Canadian quantum computer manufacturer D-Wave, making Forschungszentrum Jülich the first D-Wave Leap™ cloud-based quantum site in Europe. The event was opened with a welcoming address by Annette Storsberg, State Secretary from the North Rhine-Westphalian Ministry of Culture and Science, and a message from Thomas Rachel, Parliamentary State Secretary at the Federal Ministry of Education and Research.
The state government and the Federal Ministry of Education and Research are supporting the establishment of JUNIQ with € 5 million in funding from each. "The application of new quantum technologies holds great development potential for science and industry. With JUNIQ, Forschungszentrum Jülich is creating an infrastructure that is unique in Europe and that enables different user groups to gain user-friendly access to quantum computing," said Annette Storsberg, State Secretary at the Ministry of Culture and Science of North Rhine-Westphalia. "With the establishment of this quantum computing platform, North Rhine-Westphalia is demonstrating its role as an important location for information technology".
State Secretary for Research Thomas Rachel commented in a video message: "With the launch of JUNIQ, Forschungszentrum Jülich is creating a unique user structure and is making a quantum leap in the truest sense of the phrase in the research and use of the computer systems of the future. The Federal Government supports research into quantum technologies, because quantum effects enable a wide range of new technological applications".
"At Forschungszentrum Jülich, we help to solve highly complex questions from science and industry with high social relevance. We are leaders in the use of supercomputers in simulation, Big Data and AI," explains Prof. Wolfgang Marquardt, CEO of Forschungszentrum Jülich. "The development and use of quantum computers is a completely new and major step into the future of information technology, which we now dare to take with the opening of our new service-oriented infrastructure JUNIQ".
JUNIQ will be the unified portal to a number of different quantum computers – accessible via the cloud for German and European users. JUNIQ will thus offer quantum computing services similar to those that have long been available for Jülich’s supercomputers: Under the guidance of experts, researchers will be able to use quantum computers – from experimental systems and prototypes to first production systems – and develop algorithms and application programs for them.
D-Wave’s quantum system – a so-called quantum annealer – will be accessible via Leap, the company’s quantum cloud service. Jülich will be the site of the first European installation of D-Wave’s Leap quantum cloud service. As part of the agreement, Jülich will also benefit from the upcoming release of AdvantageTM, D-Wave’s next-generation quantum system with a new, highly connected Pegasus topology, lower-noise, and an increased qubit count.
"Quantum annealing is particularly suitable for solving very difficult optimization problems as can occur in many areas – the classic example is the shortest route for a travelling salesperson who has to visit several destinations in succession," explains Prof. Kristel Michielsen, head of the Quantum Information Processing group at JSC. "In order to find a solution, an intrinsic effect of quantum physics known as tunneling is used.” This has already made it possible for quantum annealers to calculate combinatorial optimizations that are of particular interest to industry, for example for traffic flows or in AI – and faster than conventional computers. To date, D-Wave’s customers have used the quantum computer to develop more than 150 early quantum applications in areas as diverse as financial modeling, airline scheduling, election modeling, quantum chemistry simulation, automotive design, preventative healthcare, logistics, and more.
“Jülich is a global leader in supercomputing; their high-performance systems and deep industry expertise make it possible for European scientists and academics to build applications for today’’’s most difficult problems. By leveraging the Leap quantum cloud service and benefitting from the upcoming Advantage system, Jülich will bring practical quantum computing to this ecosystem," said Vern Brownell, CEO of D-Wave. “Jülich's investment means more forward-thinking governments and research institutions in Europe will be able to learn how to harness the power of quantum computing to derive real-world value.”
"D-Wave is an important partner for us; with JUNIQ, we are striving to collaborate with all the important governments and academic institutions that research quantum computers and want to use quantum computing," explains Prof. Thomas Lippert, head of the JSC. "They appreciate our unique modular technology, which allows them to use quantum computers together with classical supercomputers in hybrid mode." Further research partners include the European company ATOS and Google on an international level; others are to follow.
Training on quantum computers, in particular for specialists from industry, is of fundamental importance for Forschungszentrum Jülich, including within the framework of the Quantum Flagship project funded by Europe. There, Jülich is involved in the construction of a European quantum computer in the subproject OpenSuperQ. The prototype is to be developed over the next few years by a European consortium and to be operated within JUNIQ.
Prof. Dr. Dr. Thomas Lippert
Direktor Jülich Supercomputing Centre (JSC)
Tel.: 02461 61-6402
Prof. Dr. Kristel Michielsen
Jülich Supercomputing Centre
Tel.: +49 2461 61-2524
Head Strategic Communications, Forschungszentrum Jülich
Tel.: +49 2461 61-8027
Dr. Regine Panknin
Press officer, Forschungszentrum Jülich
Tel.: +49 2461 61-9054