**Parallelism between quantum computing and supercomputing**

Which image first comes to mind when we think about the term “ computing ” ? It is usually an image of a computer or image of a supercomputer or image of a quantum computer. Are supercomputers and quantum computers the same ? If not the same, what is the difference between them ? Let’s dive in to get to know more!

**What do we mean by the term ***“ *computing *” *?

*“*computing

*”*?

In a very simple language computing means calculations.The concept of primitive computers came from calculations by Ada Lovelace who is regarded as “The first computer programmer”.Further if we follow the timeline, we find George Boole’s algebra, which is based on computing. Then comes Alan Turing’s machine to ENIAC to Havard’s Mark 1 and after that comes Grace Hopper’s COBOL to Microsoft’s recent launch Windows 11, it has been a long journey of calculations and computation.As we read the book Digital Fortress by Dan Brown, we find an enormous and powerful supercomputing machine. The machine encrypts all information with various pre-programmed algorithms to solve complex encrypted messages.We get a very broad knowledge of computations and mathematics from this book. Nowadays we often hear about modern-day computational technologies such as Virtual Reality, Embedded software, Cloud Computing etc.Nowadays we depend more on cloud based softwares than storage based. Our behaviour has changed from using 1GB data per month to 50GB of data per month, all these happened because of the power of computing.

**What is a supercomputer?**

A computer with superpowers is called a supercomputer. Well that’s a very brief overview of it. Supercomputers are the fastest, high-performing, multitasking computers designed to solve complex mathematical calculations and predictions. If we want to know how these supercomputers are made, the very basic level answer would be collaboration of high powered CPU’s and computational power along with parallel processing power.

**Looking back in history - **

If we look in history, the only name which comes to our mind is Seymour Cray, an eminent engineer and architect, who is sometimes known as- “The father of supercomputing”. After various ups and downs of life, when Cray joined Control data Corporation (CDC), he designed CDC 6600, a first low version supercomputer with huge computing power.

**A brief description of its configuration - **

Normal computers generally have an operational speed of millions of floating-point operations per second i.e - megaflops, whereas supercomputers have operational speed of gigaflops and teraflops. A supercomputer consists of 100s of GB of RAM,

1000s of processors and hard drives that have 1000s of GBs of storage.

A modern supercomputer has 100s and 1000s of interconnected nodes which in turn helps in solving large complex problems. Another notable ability of a supercomputer is its vector calculation, i.e it can calculate a huge amount of data within a few seconds.

**Applications - **

Coming to applications, supercomputers have a wide range of applications starting from weather prediction to usage in making nuclear weapons and reactors to cryptography. Supercomputers have played a major role in all these areas.

They also play a major role in molecular dynamics by allowing scientists to study molecular interactions and generate atom to atom images.

**Recent Innovations - **

Let us dive into the most interesting portion i.e the recent innovations.

Japan's Fugaku supercomputer has retained its position as the world's fastest. | KYODO

The Fugaku supercomputer, developed by Fujitsu and Japan's national research institute Riken, developed the supercomputer which is currently the fastest supercomputer in the world. It achieved a score of 442 petaflops or quadrillions of floating point operations per second. Fugaku is also used to treat Covid-19 by its extreme predictive capability. Perlmutter, a US-based supercomputer, is the sixth fastest supercomputer with 64.6 petaflops, which focuses on the power efficiency of the supercomputers.This supercomputer is named after Saul Perlmutter an astrophysicist at Berkeley. Recently it got the acclamation of “the fastest system on the planet on the 16- and 32-bit mixed-precision math AI uses”. Among all these innovations, Tesla announced its most advanced supercomputer named “Dojo” which can be used to train the neural nets for autopilot self- driving AI cars. As the CEO of Tesla Elon Musk says “Dojo will be able to process vast amounts of video data to achieve vision-only autonomous driving”. This supercomputer is thought to have apparently one quintillion or an exaflop or 1000 petaflops.

Summit supercomputer at Oak Ridge National Laboratory

*Image credits: Nvidia*

Researchers are using supercomputers to detect the variants of Covid-19 virus. They ran a detailed analysis of the protein viruses with the help of molecular dynamics.

**What is a quantum computer?**

If we ask a normal computer to solve a complex maze, it will try every possible combination in every branch until it finds the right path. A quantum computer can solve this problem in a few seconds as it can traverse through all the paths in a single go and find the correct path. That sounds astonishing. Isn’t it? Considering the basic theory behind quantum computing is formation of quantum logic gates.The unit quantum computer is Qubit i.e quantum bit which stores information. Qubits are also measured by 0s and 1s just like our normal computers. But Qubits are more powerful as it can exert its quantum mechanical properties like superposition and quantum entanglement.

**Looking back in history -**

The first thought of quantum computing came in the mind of Richard Faynman. He felt the need of a quantum computer in order to make the processes more efficient and fast. It took him 10 long years to create an algorithm for a quantum computer. Later on Grover’s algorithm was first solved with the help of a 2-qubit quantum computer. Much later, IBM first introduced the first commercial quantum computer around 2017. Thus began a new era of faster data processing and faster computing.

**A brief description of its configuration - **

A quantum computer has a very strong hardware system. The whole hardware system can be divided into 4 parts - quantum data plane (it is the main layer where the qubits are present), control and measurement plane (It is responsible for the operations and the measurements on the Qubits as required) , control processor plane (it maintains the sequence of operations), host processor (it controls the networks and storage).

**Applications -**

A quantum computer plays a major role in the finance sector in a wide area. Starting from cyber security, various complex algorithms are built to make strong security for online transactions. Detection of frauds can be highly done by predictive models of quantum computers. One of the most famous applications of quantum computers is computational chemistry. The immense power of a qubit is to map the molecules which in turn helps in pharmaceutical research.

**Recent Innovations - **

Let us dive into recent innovations and research.

Rigetti launched the multi-chip device with the objective of reaching 80 qubits later this year, up from the current 31 qubits supported by the company's Aspen processor.

“A marvellous benchmark has been created by Rigetti Computing. They have created “world’s first multi-chip quantum processor”. The chip supports 31 qubits supported by Aspen processor.”

The centerpiece of the quantum computer: the ion trap in a vacuum chamber. -

Another important revolutionary innovation is done with respect to the size of the quantum computer. Generally quantum computers fill up all the spaces of a room, but some recent technological advancement have led to fit in two 19-inch server racks.

IBM recently launched the most powerful computer system named IBM Quantum System One.

Professor Reimund Neugebauer,called the project “a model to establish technological sovereignty in the international innovation field that is very competitive.”** **

**-- Source Link **

Supercomputers Vs Quantum Computers - The Final Showdown

Till now almost all of us will be able to narrow down the main points of difference between a supercomputer and a quantum computer. Supercomputers solve massive and data oriented problems whereas quantum computers generally solve problems based on quantum mechanics and quantum theories.

Supercomputers use a high number of processors and perform parallel processing to fasten computation whereas quantum computers use complex algorithms to perform fast computationsSupercomputers are mainly used for national security and studying behavioral models of dynamic molecularity whereas quantum computers specially deal with problems where real world problems can be solved by quantum theory. Although both supercomputers and quantum computers are in the research and innovation level, everyday huge experiments are conducted to make these technologies more and more efficient and easy to use.

**Conclusion**

It’s the technology which upgrades the human race. Both quantum computers and supercomputers play a huge role in the upliftment of science and technology. These technologies are important in all the roles starting from health care, security,corporates,finance and many more. Awaiting for more innovations and research in the near future.