- PennyLane is an open-source framework designed for “hybrid quantum computing,” a paradigm that utilizes classical computing resources in conjunction with quantum processors.
- Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory, such as Shinjae Yoo, have stated that it takes as many as 256 GPUs to simulate approximately thirty dozen qubits – the unique calculators utilized by true quantum machines.
Nvidia Corp. is collaborating with a startup named Xanadu Quantum Technologies Inc., based in Toronto, to facilitate the first-ever execution of quantum computing simulations on supercomputers.
Recently, Nvidia expressed in a blog post that researchers are employing the latest version of Xanadu’s PennyLane software to simulate quantum systems on a supercomputer known as “Perlmutter.” PennyLane is an open-source framework designed for “hybrid quantum computing,” a paradigm that utilizes classical computing resources in conjunction with quantum processors. The researchers have integrated PennyLane with Nvidia’s cuQuantum software development kit, thereby facilitating the simulation of quantum machines utilizing high-performance clusters of graphics processing units.
Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory, such as Shinjae Yoo, have stated that it takes as many as 256 GPUs to simulate approximately thirty dozen qubits – the unique calculators utilized by true quantum machines. This roughly doubles the number of qubits available to researchers at present.
Nvidia stated that the multinode version of PennyLane is used in conjunction with the cuQuantum SDK to simplify the complicated task of accelerating enormous quantum computer simulations. Yoo’s team has no less than six PennyLane-based projects in the pipeline; he said, “This opens the door to letting even my interns run some of the largest simulations — that’s why I’m so excited.”
Yoo’s research aims to advance high-energy physics and machine learning applications, whereas other researchers are using simulated quantum computers to increase their knowledge of chemistry and materials science.
Quantum computers have been an experimental type of computer that uses the laws of quantum mechanics. They promise to be much more powerful than classical computers, but they are still a new technology that isn’t fully developed. Simulations let researchers start testing their abilities while they are still being made.
In addition to helping researchers, Xanadu is also collaborating with Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Ltd. to create quantum algorithms that will be used to design jet engines that use less energy. It also works with Volkswagen Group to make batteries for electric cars more efficient and powerful.
The Perlmutter supercomputer at the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center simulates quantum computers with PennyLane in at least four other projects besides Yoo’s. The leader of NERSC’s quantum computing program, Katherine Klymko, stated that researchers are utilizing quantum simulations to study molecular complexes that are far too big for conventional computers. Klymko said, “Tools like PennyLane are key to let them extend what they can currently do classically to prepare for eventually running algorithms on large-scale computers.”
Lee O’Riordan, a senior quantum software developer at Xanadu, stated that the combination of PennyLane and cuQuantum allows for an unprecedented increase in the number of qubits that can be simulated. He said, “When we started work in 2022 with cuQuantum on a single GPU, we got 10X speedups pretty much across the board. We hope to scale by the end of the year to 1,000 nodes — that’s 4,000 GPUs — and that could mean simulating more than 40 qubits.”
O’Riordan believes that Nvidia’s cuQuantum and GPUs can simulate the equivalent of more than 60 qubits, divided into 30-qubit subcircuits, and even more.
The team at Xanadu is still gathering information on the possibilities, but the research appears promising. “Going by our sample-based workloads, we see almost linear scaling,” he said.