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Fujitsu Digital Annealer Revolutionizes Problem Solving with Quantum Acceleration

The second generation Fujitsu Digital Annealer is now enabling organizations to make a rapid and affordable leap to solve complex combinatorial optimization problems – enabling breakthroughs in areas such as optimizing manufacturing processes, minimizing traffic congestion and enabling financial services providers to align investment portfolios against ever-changing risk landscapes.

Press release from Fujitsu
March 8th 2019 | 906 readers

Fujitsu Digital Annealer Revolutionizes Problem Solving with Quantum Acceleration

Powered by pioneering quantum-inspired technology1 , the Fujitsu Digital Annealer delivers unprecedented disruptive new solutions including prioritizing rollout locations for next-generation mobile networks to maximize customer uptake, drug discovery, and molecular simulations.

Dr. Joseph Reger, Fujitsu Fellow and Chief Technology Officer CE & EMEIA at Fujitsu, comments: “Our ultimate aim is to help customers and society as a whole to solve ever-larger and more complex challenges. As Moore’s Law seems to slow down, there’s a compute deficit which is threatening to slow down the pace of progress. Fujitsu is addressing that with the Digital Annealer, which enables an entirely different approach to finding solutions, inspired by quantum computing’s simultaneous processing capabilities. The key difference to traditional computing is that the Digital Annealer can tackle complex combinatorial problems by comparing thousands of possible results at the same time, rather than in sequence.” 

The Digital Annealer’s unparalleled compute power can be deployed as a cloud-hosted or on-premises service solution2 , depending on customer preference. It integrates seamlessly into standard data center operating environments, without the need for complex infrastructure required by regular quantum computers3 , which are energy-intensive and need expensive cooling systems running at near absolute-zero temperature.

Digital Annealer rapidly solves complex combinatorial problems 
Unique simultaneous data processing capabilities allow the Fujitsu Digital Annealer to instantly find the optimal combination of massively complex, previously unmanageable data variables. For example, choosing the most valuable combination of 40 from 100 items to be put in a backpack for a trek could result in a number of possibilities exceeding one million times the number of stars in the universe4 . With the Digital Annealer, the problem can be solved in less than one second. 

However, even this representation of a complex combinatorial problem does not meet the complexity of the types of business challenges the Digital Annealer is designed to handle, which go way beyond what conventional computing can do. One example of a business application is for a bank to optimize a delivery round of money to ATM cashpoint machines, prioritized by amount. The Fujitsu Digital Annealer can instantly work out which ATMs a particular driver should visit, calculate the optimal route to take, while simultaneously suggesting how much to deposit in each machine.

Digital Annealer finds near-instant answers to business challenges 
The Fujitsu Digital Annealer is already delivering huge benefits to customers in multiple industries. In financial services, NatWest  bank is leveraging the technology to optimize its mix of liquid assets. The Digital Annealer has enabled the bank to complete highly-complex calculations significantly faster than traditional systems with an even higher degree of accuracy5 . As a result, NatWest has been able to identify new, profitable investment opportunities while achieving full regulatory risk compliance and at the same time helps to reduce the risk of human error. 

In the automotive industry, Fujitsu is working with several leading global manufacturers to trial the Digital Annealer in use cases that include streamlining of shop floor job scheduling, enhancing smart mobility services and refining car design to reduce noise while driving. Furthermore, for a recent reorganization of Fujitsu’s own warehousing, the Digital Annealer recommended optimized routing and stock placement. This reduced the distance travelled to collect items by 45 percent, resulting in significant time and cost savings. 

According to Fujitsu CTO Dr. Reger: “With the availability of the second generation Digital Annealer, we are enabling customers to answer increasingly complex ‘what if?’ questions, by adding more variables and working at greater precision – to tackle problems that traditional computers simply cannot solve because of the exponential increase in the number of possible combinations. And unlike true quantum computing, which is still far from being commercially viable, since it is prohibitively expensive and requires cryogenic cooling, the benefits of the Digital Annealer are already available to organizations across all sectors today – whenever and however they want to disrupt, revolutionize, streamline, or simply optimize businesses processes.”

Proof of concept services enable customers to get started immediately 
Fujitsu’s co-creation services enable customers to immediately put the Digital Annealer to work, providing expertise and support in identifying and addressing challenges where a solution was previously never thought possible or practical. Fujitsu also supports in integrating the Digital Annealer into production environments.

Pricing and availability 
The Digital Annealer is available as-a-service on a subscription basis, including technical and consulting services, support and optional additional consultancy for solution development. It can be deployed as a cloud hosted or on-premises service. The second generation of Fujitsu’s Digital Annealer is available to customers for proof of concepts, with general availability scheduled for April 2019.

Digital Annealer on show at Hannover Messe 
Visitors to the Hannover Messe (HMI) 2019 trade show will be able to see the Digital Annealer in action on the Fujitsu booth (E16) in Hall 7. Demonstrations will focus on how the manufacturing industry can benefit from process optimization thanks to Fujitsu’s quantum-inspired Digital Annealing technology.

Notes to editors 
1The power behind the Digital Annealer lies in Fujitsu’s Digital Annealing Unit (DAU), a processor that leverages innovations in ultra-high-density circuit integration and high-performance processing. The groundbreaking architecture is inspired by the key characteristics of quantum computing: superposition, quantum tunneling and entanglement, enabling the Digital Annealer to evaluate multiple potential options simultaneously – delivering lightning fast insights. The first generation of Digital Annealer remains a unique and viable solution to many complex combinatory problems needing rapid, practical solutions. The second generation Digital Annealer 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 and an increase in computational precision. This leads to substantial gains in precision and performance for enhanced problem-solving and new applications, expanding by a factor of one hundred the complexity that the second generation Digital Annealer can tackle now. 

2The Digital Annealer is provided as-a-service by Fujitsu. Industry-standard APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) are part of a cloud service along with comprehensive integration and support services to complement the Digital Annealer architecture, enabling businesses to spend more time innovating rather than integrating new technology. 

3The Digital Annealer operates at room temperature, in comparison to the near absolute zero (-273.15°C) environment that is required for regular quantum computing solutions – which therefore require more energy in power and cooling. 

4Single items have interdependencies. For example, as a stand-alone item, a box of nails has a low value, but this increases when combined with a hammer. The number of stars is assumed as being 1022

5This figure is based on optimizing an HQLA portfolio using both traditional techniques on a conventional cloud service and the Digital Annealer.

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