One Japanese startup reckons quantum annealing and its open-source tool is the way to go in the industry
Japan & QC
TQD has already written several articles on the QC industry in Japan, with a particular focus on the startup scene.
QunaSys, A*Quantum, D Slit Technologies, MDR, Sigma-i, and Tokyo Quantum Computing are creating a name for themselves while playing catch-up with the likes of North America and China in the QC industry.
And there is no doubt — with the Japanese famous for their hard work, industry and innovation — the country will get there, at some point in the future.
Another startup, Jij Inc, founded in late 2018 and based in Tokyo, will surely follow the example of the others already mentioned.
Jij Inc’s CEO and co-founder, Yu Yamashiro, from the Tokyo Tech Institute of Technology Nishimori lab, leads a team of experts hell-bent on:
‘solving challenging problems using the Ising model and physics knowledge such as quantum annealing’
But what is quantum annealing?
Quantum annealing is — in its most simplistic form — a metaheuristic procedure that utilizes quantum mechanics to solve optimization conundrums. The bones of it, then, is to come up with a solution by simulating natural phenomenon called annealing, explained clearly and succinctly in quantum physicist Anastasia Marchenkova’s excellent Medium post ‘by quickly searching over a space and finding a minimum solution’.
The startup was established with the help of the Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST) and is focussed on the development of software specially designed for the practical application of annealing machines.
As claimed by the startup’s pitch deck, Jij Inc’s ‘support[s] the process from finding issues and QUBO formulation to an analysis of results’ by
— optimizing problems on business issues
— formulating QUBO (for the Ising model)
— simulating and experiment for benchmark (conventional computer, D-Wave device etc)
— analyzing for future applications
The team has also developed an open-source initiative OpenJij, a project hoping to achieve a unified annealing platform which is captained by chief engineer Kohji Nishimura, Jij Inc’s CTO and also a Tokyo Tech Insititute of Technology Nishimori lab faculty member.
Jij Inc’s QC journey is just beginning, and its services in the ‘development of applications and algorithms for practical use using annealing machine’, along with its consultancy business on ‘annealing machine-related technology and optimization technology’ should, if managed correctly, bring more knowledge and credibility to the industry in the near term.