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High Performance and Quantum Computing

Black Holes Simulation_100820A
[Supermassive test: this simulation of the region around M87 shows the motion of plasma as it swirls around the black hole. The bright thin ring that can be seen in blue is the edge of the shadow. (Courtesy: L Medeiros/C Chan/D. Psaltis/F Özel/University of Arizona/Institute for Advanced Study) - Physicsworld]

 

 

- The Future of High Performance Computing

In the Age of Internet Computing, billions of people use the Internet every day. As a result, supercomputer sites and large data centers must provide high-performance computing services to huge numbers of Internet users concurrently. We have to upgrade data centers using fast servers, storage systems, and high-bandwidth networks. The purpose is to advance network-based computing and web services with the emerging new technologies.

The general computing trend is to leverage shared web resources and massive amounts of data over the Internet. The evolutionary trend towards parallel, distributed, and cloud computing with clusters, MPPS (Massively Parallel Processing), P2P (Peer-to-Peer) networks, grids, clouds, web services, the Internet of Things, and even quantum computing.

Data has become the driving force behind business, academic, and social progress, forcing significant advancements in computer processing. By 2025, an estimated 463 exabytes of data will be created each day globally. As institutions embrace a “data everywhere” mentality, high-performance computing (HPC) presents new opportunities to take on emerging challenges in these fields.

HPC arose as a discipline in computer science in which supercomputers are used to solve complex scientific problems. As HPC technologies grow in their computational power, other academic, government, and business institutions have adopted them to meet their own needs for fast computations. Today, HPC vastly reduces the time, hardware, and costs required to solve mathematical problems critical to core functions. Now an established field for advanced computing, HPC is driving new discoveries in astrophysics, genomics, and medicine, among other academic disciplines; it is driving business value in unlikely industries such as financial services and agriculture as well.

 

- Supercomputing

"Supercomputer" is a general term for computing systems capable of sustaining high-performance computing applications that require a large number of processors, shared or distributed memory, and multiple disks. 

A supercomputer is a type of computer that has the architecture, resources and components to achieve massive computing power. Today's supercomputers consists of tens of thousands of the fastest processors that are able to perform billions and trillions of calculations or computations per second. 

Performance of a supercomputer is measured in floating-point operations per second (FLOPS) instead of million instructions per second (MIPS). As of today, all of the world's fastest 500 supercomputers run Linux-based operating systems. 

Supercomputers are primarily are designed to be used in enterprises and organizations that require massive computing power. A supercomputer incorporates architectural and operational principles from parallel and grid processing, where a process is simultaneously executed on thousands of processors or is distributed among them.

 

- Quantum Computing

Quantum computing is essentially harnessing and exploiting the amazing laws of quantum mechanics to process information. A traditional computer uses long strings of “bits,” which encode either a zero or a one. A quantum computer, on the other hand, uses quantum bits, or qubits. What's the difference? Well a qubit is a quantum system that encodes the zero and the one into two distinguishable quantum states. But, because qubits behave quantumly, we can capitalize on the phenomena of "superposition" and "entanglement." 

A quantum computer is a machine that is able to crack very tough computation problems with incredible speed - beyond that of today's "classical" computers. The secret to a quantum computer’s power lies in its ability to generate and manipulate quantum bits, or qubits.

In conventional computers, the unit of information is called a "bit" and can have a value of either 1 or 0. But its equivalent in a quantum system - the qubit (quantum bit) - can be both 1 and 0 at the same time. This phenomenon opens the door for multiple calculations to be performed simultaneously.

However, qubits need to be synchronised using a quantum effect known as entanglement, which Albert Einstein termed "spooky action at a distance.

There are four types of quantum computers currently being developed, which use:
  • Light particles
  • Trapped ions
  • Superconducting qubits
  • Nitrogen vacancy centres in diamonds


Quantum computers will enable a multitude of useful applications, such as being able to model many variations of a chemical reaction to discover new medications; developing new imaging technologies for healthcare to better detect problems in the body; or to speed up how we design batteries, new materials and flexible electronics."

Please refer to "What is a quantum computer? -- [MIT]" for more details




[More to come ...]

 

 

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