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Nomura Research Institute, Ltd., Platform Services Development Planning Department

Value enhancement of the optimization solution "Fiboat" through effective utilization of quantum computers


Members of NRI

We spoke with

Platform Services Development Planning Department
Mr. Takeru Sunahase (Photo right)
Mr. Izumi Watanabe (Center of photo)
Mr. Ken Doi (Photo left)

Takuji Hiraoka
President & CEO, Fixstars Amplify Corporation
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    We are promoting the verification and research and development of cutting-edge technologies including quantum computers in anticipation of the quantum era.
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    We aim to enhance the value of the optimization solution "Fiboat," developed by Nomura Research Institute, by utilizing cutting-edge machines such as quantum computers and Ising machines.

Results of Utilization

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    We worked on optimizing the power consumption of the cooling equipment in our own data center using quantum computers and confirmed a power reduction effect of approximately 10% under certain conditions.
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    Through the above efforts, we have acquired knowledge regarding the effective utilization of important quantum computers and Ising machines for future business development.
1. About the optimization solution "Fiboat"

Our team is currently engaged in technical validation and R&D of quantum computers and mathematical optimization algorithms, developing a business called "Fiboat" to address challenges such as improving labor productivity and reducing CO2 emissions. We are also creating an optimization solution for various industries such as logistics, energy, and retail, leveraging the knowledge we have gained from these efforts.
In recent years, it has become technologically easier to predict the future through machine learning and other methods, and we feel that optimization to support decision-making based on predictions is attracting attention in a wide range of industries.

Image Fixstars Amplify Hiraoka (Photo left), NRI Mr. Watanabe (Photo right)

Quantum computers are actively being researched and developed for practical use, with optimization being one of the areas where they are expected to be utilized. However, in the field of optimization, many dedicated machines and optimization algorithms that utilize conventional computer technologies other than quantum have also emerged.
We are working to understand the characteristics of quantum computers and other methods with an eye towards the coming quantum age, so that we can choose the appropriate method.

2. The appeal of Fixstars Amplify

Our team works on optimization problems for clients in various industries. In practice, when comparing quantum computers and other methods, dedicated machines and algorithms using conventional computers are often more practical options at this time. Especially for combinatorial optimization problems, Fixstars Amplify AE is by far the largest machine capable of handling problem sizes, and it provides all the necessary information for development, including sample code, making it very user-friendly.
Another attractive point is that by developing programs using Fixstars Amplify SDK, existing programs can be seamlessly transitioned to the new quantum era without wasting time and money.

3. To effectively utilize Ising machines.

Fixstars Amplify AE and other Ising machines are specialized machines for combinatorial optimization problems. One of their features is their ability to solve optimization problems involving quadratic terms, which are multiplications of decision variables, at high speed. By exploring and implementing logic that can incorporate quadratic terms into the formulation, the probability of obtaining a good solution to be more applicable to actual operational settings increases. It is difficult to design quadratic terms, and implementing the algorithm requires ingenuity.
Recently, we worked on optimizing the power consumption of "heat source equipment" in our data center and confirmed a prospect of about 10% power reduction under certain conditions. In this case, we went through numerous trials and errors to effectively utilize quadratic terms and gained valuable insights through collaboration with the Fixstars Amplify team.

Image Results of power optimization in our own data centers

Related link: NRI Press Release/ Quantum Computers Used in Demonstration Experiments to Reduce Power Consumption in Data Centers (2022/12/6) decoration (Note: Japanese Only)

4. Expectations for Fixstars Amplify in the future.

We eagerly anticipate further collaboration with Fixstars Amplify to drive optimization in the quantum era. We also have high expectations for Fixstars Amplify not only to expand the development and execution environment for optimization, but also to consider the development of a foundation for utilizing quantum computers for a variety of applications.

* All information in this article is based on information available at the time of the interview (April 2023).

After completing the interview

As a development partner of Fixstars Amplify, we spoke with Nomura Research Institute, with whom we are examining the potential of the application of quantum computing technology. I personally share their stance of identifying technologies that can be "used now" to solve their customers' problems, while keeping an eye on the arrival of the quantum era. I am very grateful that Fixstars Amplify has been recognized for its advantages by a group of experts involved in research and development of quantum computers and mathematical optimization. Fixstars Amplify is a service that can be used for a wide range of use cases, from a free basic plan that can be easily tried out to system development by development partners such as Nomura Research Institute. Please contact us if you are interested, thank you.

Interviewer: Takuji Hiraoka (President & CEO, Fixstars Amplify Corporation)

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