Finland has rolled-out an unique infrastructure by connecting a general-purpose quantum computer to a supercomputer offering researchers and users opportunities to use this hybrid service.

Pearl and Snow – HELMI AND LUMI

The quantum computer, a 5-qubit machine called HELMI (‘Pearl’ in Finnish) is from VTT, Finnish state sponsored R&D outfit.  HELMI is also Finland’s first quantum computer. But more to come. As Pekka Pursula, Research Manager at VTT puts it, “we will continue to build bigger and more powerful quantum computers, which will also become available for users through the same gateway.”

LUMI (meaning “Snow” in Finnish), Europe’s most powerful classical supercomputer is hosted by CSC – IT Center for Science. The gateway (built within the framework of the Finnish Quantum-Computing Infrastructure FiQCI) between HELMI and LUMI means – “LUMI is now the most powerful quantum-enabled supercomputing infrastructure in the world, in addition to being a leading platform for artificial intelligence. This means that we have all the drivers of the future of computing seamlessly integrated and ready to be utilized”, notes Pekka Manninen, Director of LUMI.

The initial utilization will come as an academic pilot at Aalto University (which is also a partner in this collaboration) before opening it up to a wider audience. “The first generation of quantum computers will be most valuable for training researchers and students in quantum algorithms and computing, and related technologies”, says Tapio Ala-Nissilä, Professor of physics at Aalto. The goal is to seed a generation of students and researchers to experiment with quantum computers, but beyond that, use this infrastructure to tackle unique problems.

Unique Problems to Solve with HELMI and LUMI

As VTT points out, “while supercomputers are immensely powerful by themselves, some types of problems can only be solved faster, more accurately, or using less energy when partially solved on quantum computers.”  Some examples of unique use-cases and applications could be – short-term weather prediction, forest fire detection and high accuracy algorithmic trading in the financial world.

November 2022