Ampere and Rigetti will accelerate hybrid quantum computing in HPC environments

Ampere Computing and Rigetti Computing today announced a strategic partnership to create hybrid quantum-classical computers. Aimed at unlocking a new generation of quantum-based machine learning applications, the partnership will see Ampere’s Altra Max Arm processors paired with Rigetti Computing’s Quantum Processing Units (QPUs) in high-performance computing environments. (HPC) based on the cloud. Companies hope to make the most of the estimated $26 billion quantum computing-as-a-service (QCaaS) market by 2030.

The partnership aims to develop hybrid computing solutions that can be easily deployed in data centers to accelerate critical areas such as climate change, fusion energy, quantitative finance, drug development and materials science. The integrated solutions further aim to accelerate the discovery and deployment of high-performance machine learning algorithms. Cloud servers powered by Ampere Altra Max are expected to process the large amounts of data resulting from quantum workloads performed on Rigetti’s QPUs.

“Our collaboration with Rigetti is a natural extension of our strategy of creating cloud-native processors optimized for a wide range of workloads and customer needs,” said Renee James, founder and CEO of Ampere. “Quantum machine learning is emerging as a significant opportunity for scientific computing users and their public and private cloud providers. We believe that Ampere and Rigetti will enable quantum computations of increased complexity, with the potential to perform beyond lower cost.”

How Ampère’s CPUs and Rigetti’s QPUs will be integrated remains a mystery. At least some of the companies’ efforts appear to be focused on accelerating quantum computing simulations run on classical systems. These would include Ampere’s Altra Max Arm processors, which pack 128 Arm v8.2+ cores per chip running at up to 3.0GHz. The company’s claim of performance density of “up to 3,500 cores per rack” is likely one of the reasons Ampere Computing has already won multiple design contracts with customers including Microsoft and Tencent. .

To return

Ampère’s 128-core Altra Max boasts industry-leading core density and power efficiency. (Image credit: Ampere Computing)

Rigetti’s QPUs are based on superconducting qubits, which require cryogenically safe environments to enable qubit coherence, entanglement, and workload processing. The company’s QPUs are designed with several lessons learned from conventional semiconductors and are described as “lithography-defined chip-based technology.” This means that the deployment occurs in a self-contained chip-like structure, which includes the qubit array, a linear superconducting resonator (for reading the qubits), and associated wiring.

The chip-like approach allowed Rigetti to design its QPUs with through-silicon vias and superconducting flip-chip cap bonding technologies. Both of these solutions help insulate the qubit network from electromagnetic interference, which would lead to miscalculations and qubit decoherence, while also allowing qubit-to-qubit communication through the associated signal transmission wiring. Rigetti says it can achieve scalability simply by multiplying the number of chips in shipped systems, which the company has already done with the announcement of its 80-qubit Aspen-M, which is a multi- chips based on a pair of the Aspen-11 40-qubit QPU chip.

Aspen-M by Rigetti

Rigetti’s Aspen-M quantum processing unit offers 80 qubits in a multi-chip design built from design lessons learned from semiconductor manufacturing. (Image credit: Rigetti Computing)

Interestingly, Rigetti also released benchmark results for its Aspen-11 and Aspen-M systems under the CLOPS (Circuit Layer Operations per Second) metric proposed by IBM in October last year. The chips earned a CLOPS score of 844 and 892, respectively. However, since the CLOPS metric has still not been finalized as a standard, it is impossible to know if Rigetti’s QPU results are comparable to those of IBM (which is the only other company to ever announce benchmark scores under the metric).

Even so, IBM’s published CLOPS scores for systems with 5, 27, and 65 qubits were 1419, 951, and 753, respectively, as of the October 2021 standard proposal date. Rigetti’s Aspen systems seem to offer an upgrade. the positive scale even by increasing the number of qubits. However, linear scaling is not expected, as the CLOPS standard allows different workload complexities to be evaluated (and scaled) with respect to the number of qubits.

Rigetti Computing and Ampere Computing have been at the forefront of their respective markets, and the announcement of the partnership appears to provide them with many opportunities to build on each other’s strengths in the brave new world of computing. distributed quantum.

Sherry J. Basler