Fujitsu’s Quantum-inspired Digital Annealer recognized with technology award for Manufacturing Excellence

Main visual : Fujitsu’s Quantum-inspired Digital Annealer recognized with technology award for Manufacturing Excellence

In another sign of its growing worldwide recognition as a major breakthrough, FUJITSU Quantum-Inspired Computing Digital Annealer has won two prestigious technology prizes in Japan.

Digital Annealer, a solution which accelerates digital transformation generations ahead today by solving largely intractable business optimization problems at high speed and with a high level of accuracy, was awarded the Manufacturing Excellence Award, as well as the Grand Prize at the MM Research Institute (MMRI) Awards 2019. It is the first time Fujitsu has won this prestigious Grand Prize.

Fujitsu Representative Director and Corporate Executive Officer Hidenori Furuta received the award at a reception ceremony organized by MMRI in Tokyo on July 11.

This is the 16th year that Tokyo-based MMRI has run the awards, which it created to commend companies actively developing new products and markets with superior ICT technology.

To put that into perspective, other award winners this year were the MONET Consortium (a Mobility as-a-Service joint venture between Softbank and Toyota, Paypay (a cash-less payment solution), NTT Docomo, NTT Data and NEC.

There is good reason for the excitement about Digital Annealer. It overcomes the limitations that current quantum computers have when it comes to deploying quantum algorithms to solve real-world combinatorial optimization problems and what classical digital computers have with respect to their performance limitations.

Quantum computers today are in the experimental phase and come with an unknown time scale when it comes to the quality and stability of physical qubits required to solve real-world problems.

We expect that quantum computers, when they are finally available, can potentially manage these massive computations – but today their arrival is far off, as they have major hardware limitations, and many engineering problems remain to be overcome before any practical solutions emerge.

Harnessing the proposition of quantum phenomena to accurately solve complex optimization challenges

Inspired by what quantum concepts, when applied to technology, can bring to the table, Fujitsu created a digital circuit architecture that emulates the phenomena of superpositioning, tunneling, and entanglement.

The current generation Digital Annealer comes with 8192 bits, completely entangled or fully-connected to provide a 64bit accuracy for solving complex, intractable optimization challenges in seconds.

Little wonder, then, that Digital Annealer has been described by independent industry analysts as a unique technology that can pre-empt quantum computing and achieve the benefits of quantum-like solutions, providing performance levels that are generations ahead, in current data center environment or even working on your desk or at the network edge.

Having new technology is one thing, but the MMRI judges were suitably impressed that Fujitsu is already working with customers to achieve results leveraging Digital Annealer in many diverse sectors, including automotive manufacturing, financial services, pharmaceuticals and life sciences, logistics, and utilities.

One world-leading car manufacturer, for example, has engaged with Fujitsu for a range of optimizations including job-shop scheduling, engineering design and the optimization of robot positioning. In the case of robotic welding in vehicle manufacture, Digital Annealer is calculating the perfect path for production robots setting out from and returning to their base positions.

By calculating the optimal order for the robots to perform welds, the solution has already increased efficiency significantly. The scale of impact is so great that optimization in this one process could eventually increase production vehicle volume in lesser time.

Award recognizes the Digital Annealer’s potential to disrupt business processes

From my perspective, this award is a recognition from MMRI of Digital Annealer’s unique capabilities and its potential to disrupt the market. We are truly talking about the potential to radically transform the way organizations and countries/society can operate.

Digital Annealer provides a faster and more efficient way to design new drugs and materials, eliminate waste and time from manufacturing processes, cut fuel, carbon emissions and costs from logistics operations – and an infinite number of other possible business optimizations.

In short, it offers organizations a solution – today - to achieve new levels of competitive advantage, years or perhaps decades before quantum computing is stable enough for practical use. 

Fujitsu appreciates that the potential to optimize any intractable problem dealing with quintillion possibilities makes it tricky to identify and select the best place to start.

That’s why, along with our Quantum-Inspired optimization services, Fujitsu provides expertise and support in identifying where customers can put the Digital Annealer to work immediately, addressing challenges where a solution was previously never thought possible or practical.

We also support customers integrating the Digital Annealer into production environments by making it available immediately as a cloud-hosted or on-premises model, provided as-a-service on a subscription basis and by offering technical and consulting services, support and optional additional consultancy for solution development.

You can go through our overview whitepaper covering key customer application areas and if you have some ideas where you could productively optimize how your organization currently operates, you can discuss them with us.