Fujitsu recently invited some of the world’s best programmers to take part in a quantum-computing related coding challenge. Here, we share the results.
The world’s next big computing problems will need new computing infrastructures, as well as new talent.
To help pave this path, Fujitsu and its Japanese partner TC3 K.K. recently invited the members of Topcoder, a global network of more than 1.4 million highly skilled developers and data scientists, to take part in a series of challenges using our quantum-inspired computing architecture, the Fujitsu Digital Annealer.
Participants were asked to build algorithms that address some of the most difficult combinatorial optimization problems known today – problems so complex that conventional computers can’t solve them in a sensible timeframe.
This also meant that participants were among the first in the world to get the chance to put the Fujitsu Digital Annealer through its paces. It takes groundbreaking, high-performance architectures like the Digital Annealer, that take inspiration from phenomena of quantum computing, such as superposition, to deal with such large-scale computing tasks.
The challenges culminated in a sponsored, two-week Marathon Match where 141 programmers from all over the world competed to develop the best and fastest solution to a real-world problem.
More than a third of them – 52 in total – succeeded in submitting a working program script for the complex task they were set, with algorithms that allowed the Digital Annealer to find the answer to the problem within three minutes.
Alongside their computing scripts, the winners submitted a full report on how they had approached the problem, how they created their solutions, and their data output. These reports served to underline their outstanding talent in addressing the computing challenges of the future.
The project received considerable attention from the wider developer community and the media. In total, the Fujitsu Quantum Computing Challenge Series engaged with around 33,000 engineers and other parties, highlighting the widespread interest in working, quantum computing-like solutions.
Most of all, the challenge was also fun, as participants’ feedback testified.
It showed us the capabilities of new computing infrastructures, but also the mighty potential of collaborating with a global developer community on fiendishly complex computing tasks. We’re looking forward to working with the world’s best talent on similar projects in the future.