Nvidia supercomputer in Japan will be joined by quantum computer

A planned Nvidia-powered supercomputer in Japan will be getting a quantum computer as a roommate, but this is not a remake of “The Odd Couple.” 

The supercomputer project involving Nvidia was announced during March’s Nvidia GTC Conference, and is being constructed by Fujitsu for Japan’s National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST). The supercomputer will be powered by more than 2,000 Nvidia H100 Tensor Core GPUs in more than 500 nodes interconnected by Nvidia’s Quantum-2 InfiniBand technology, details that Tim Costa, director of HPC and quantum computing at Nvidia, shared with Fierce Electronics at the time of the announcement. 

AIST plans to task the massive machine, dubbed ABCI-Q, with quantum computing simulations and research that could benefit a variety of industries, and the supercomputer already was expected to be the largest in the world dedicated to quantum research. But, this week the quantum plot thickened, as Boston area quantum computing start-up QuEra Computing announced it also had scored a deal with Japan’s AIST–one worth 6.5 billion JPY (around $41 million USD)--to install one of its own quantum computers alongside the ABCI-Q machine.

But, the classical supercomputer and the quantum computer will not be dueling one another. They will be linked in a complimentary way to leverage the power of both, and close-quarters hybrid classical-quantum integration will be helped along by Nvidia’s CUDA-Q software, designed specifically to support such hybrid computing cases (QuEra even was mentioned as an initial integration partner for CUDA-Q last year.) CUDA-Q is an open source platform that helps developers program not only GPUs like the H100s, but also CPUs and the quantum processing units (QPUs) that power quantum computers.

"The integration of quantum computers with GPU supercomputing is a key milestone to unlock the potential of quantum computing to accelerate scientific discovery,” Costa said this week in a QuEra news release. "QuEra's system positioned alongside ABCI-Q and powered by CUDA-Q represents a pioneering leap forward in this regard, enabling the development of cutting edge hybrid applications and quantum research and development."

QuEra said its quantum computer will be deployed on-site with ABCI-Q in 2025, which aligns with Nvidia’s previous statement that the classical supercomputer would be ready by early next year.