Fujitsu is launching in Japan the second generation of its Fujitsu Quantum-Inspired Computing Digital Annealer Cloud Service.
The service utilizes Fujitsu's unique Digital Annealer architecture to solve combinatorial optimization problems, drawing on a design inspired by quantum phenomena. The second generation of the service expands the scale of problems that can be solved from the 1,024 bits of the first generation, launched in May 2018, to 8,192 bits, leading to substantial gains in precision and performance for problem-solving and new applications. Fujitsu plans to roll out the service to North America and Europe during fiscal 2018 (Fujitsu's fiscal year ends March 31), and thereafter to the rest of Asia as well.
Fujitsu developed the next generation Digital Annealing Unit (DAU), a dedicated processor for the Digital Annealer that makes use of ultra-high-density circuit integration technology refined through the development of high-performance processors. This development has expanded the scale of the number of connections between bits from the current 1,024 to up to 8,192, and the coupling precision from 16 bits of gradation to a maximum of 64 bits, for 18.45 quintillion gradations.
The Digital Annealer employs digital circuitry in its design, and as a result operates stably at room temperature without specialized cooling equipment, and results will not be significantly impacted by noise.
Previously, applying the Digital Annealer to combinatorial optimization problems demanded expert knowledge and hours of work in order to determine control parameters most, appropriate for the problem. Now, by incorporating technology to automatically adjust control parameters based on results observed during the computation process, Fujitsu has created an automatic tuning function. This will enable Fujitsu's customers to get solutions without adjusting Digital Annealer control parameters themselves.
The second generation service can be applied to increasingly complex real-world problems in businesses and society, including manufacturing, financial services, retail and distribution as well as drug discovery, and can be expected to see use in various industries and fields.
Fujitsu will offer the Fujitsu Quantum-inspired Computing Digital Annealer as an On-Premises Service starting in February 2019. With the new service, servers supporting the second generation of Digital Annealer technology can be installed in datacenters.
Going forward, Fujitsu aims to provide support for even larger scale combinatorial optimization problems of up to 1 million bits through technologies like the problem segmentation technology developed by Fujitsu Laboratories. This technology enables Digital Annealer technology to be applied to large-scale problems by using a method that finds the optimal solution by repeatedly extracting essential portions of the problem, based on the problem’s characteristics, processing them with the Digital Annealer, and then returning the results to the overall problem.
In addition, Fujitsu plans to expand the use of the Digital Annealer in various regions, under the lead of Fujitsu Intelligence Technology, a new company developing Fujitsu's global AI business that began operations in Vancouver, Canada, in November 2018.