HSE Tikhonov Moscow Institute of Electronics and Mathematics

Basics and technology of Superconducting quantum annealing machine

From the 1st until the 10th of November the senior researcher at the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST, Tsukuba, Ibaraki, Japan) Dr. Shiro Kawabata was visiting MIEM, HSE. The coordinator of the visit was the Associate Professor of the Electronic Engineering Department Dr. A. S. Vasenko.

Dr. Kawabata gave a talk at the scientific seminar of the Academic Board of the Department of Electronic Engineering in MIEM titled “Basics and technology of Superconducting quantum annealing machine”. Quantum annealing is an optimization technique which potentially leverages quantum tunneling and superposition to enhance computational performance. In 2011, D- Wave Systems announced the first commercial quantum annealer on the market. They ship a new machine with 2000 qubits in 2017. The D-Wave quantum annealer is fabricated based on superconducting electronics and quantum technology. So far, a lot of IT companies like Google and start-up companies have been joined in quantum annealing business. However, more qubits are required for AI (Artificial Intelligence) and IoT (Internet of Things) applications. In the seminar, Dr. Kawabata discussed the basics of superconducting quantum annealing machine and the current status of quantum annealing business. In addition, Dr. Kawabata explained the attempt to realize large scale superconducting quantum annealing machines based on multi-layer fabrication and multi-chip packaging technology in AIST.

Dr. Kawabata also presented two lecture course for the master-students of the master program “Materials. Devices. Nanotechnologies” titled “Introduction to quantum computation and quantum annealing”. Here is the short annotation. The world's biggest IT companies, including IBM, Google and Microsoft are currently trying to develop commercial quantum computer (QC) based on superconducting and semiconducting electronics in order to create super-powerful computers. In addition, a Canadian venture company, D-Wave systems, has been commercialized quantum annealing (QA) machine which can solve combinatorial optimization problems efficiently. This course aim was to give a basics concept of the rapidly growing field of QC and QA. The 1st part of the course started with a brief introduction of the mathematical framework of QC. After that the basic concept of QC were introduced. In order to compare QC and classical computing, simple quantum algorithms with their complexity analysis were presented. In the 2nd part of the course, the basics of combinatorial optimization problems and the Ising model were introduced. Then Dr. Kawabata gave a brief introduction to QA. In addition, the QA hardware technology and possible practical applications of QA were discussed.

In 2018 the next visit of Dr. Kawabata to MIEM, HSE is planned. We hope he will give another lecture course to the students of the master program “Materials. Devices. Nanotechnologies”. This possibility is already discussed with the program academic supervisor, the Associate Professor of the Electronic Engineering Department Dr. D. A. Bograchev. Kawabata-san promised to prepare larger lecture course on the introduction to quantum computing and quantum annealing next year.

Shiro Kawabata completed his doctorate in applied physics with theoretical study of quantum chaos in mesoscopic systems at Osaka City University in 1998. After that, he has joined in Electrotechnical Laboratory (ETL) as a researcher. In 2001, he moved to the Nanotechnology Research Institute in National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST), Japan. Currently he is a senior researcher in Nanoelectronics Research Institute, AIST. His main research field is theory of superconducting junction, spintronics, topological materials, and quantum information theory. Recently, he has been developed theory of entanglement in spintronics systems, macroscopic quantum phenomena in high-Tc Josephson junctions, THz radiation in intrinsic Josephson junctions, electron cooling based on SF junctions, and superconducting quantum metamaterials. He is now a project leader of the superconducting quantum annealing project in AIST.

The National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST), one of the largest public research organizations in Japan, focuses on the creation and practical realization of technologies useful to Japanese industry and society, and on “bridging” the gap between innovative technological seeds and commercialization. For this, AIST is organized into 5 departments and 2 centers that bring together core technologies to exert its comprehensive strength. AIST, as a core and pioneering existence of the national innovation system, has about 2000 researchers doing research and development at 10 research bases across the country, based on the national strategies formulated with the changing environment involving innovation in mind. AIST is also actively building a global network by, for example, signing memorandam of understanding for comprehensive research cooperation (MOUs) with 30 major research institutes around the world.

The information about the last year visit of Dr. Kawabata can be found at: