In a press release right before Christmas, Fujitsu has introduced a second generation digital annealer with some impressive specifications as compared to their first generation machine and also quantum annealers. A digital annealer is a special purpose classical computing device that is designed to solve combinatorial optimization problems.
Some key specs for the machine are as follows:
Fujitsu is starting to roll out cloud service for use of this machine to North America and Europe now with service in Asia later in 2019. In addition, for customers wishing to have their own machine in-house, they are planning to start offering on-premise installations in February 2019. In their press release, Fujitsu made a particularly aggressive statement indicating they have a goal of achieving 100 million yen of sales (about $900 million USD) between now and their fiscal 2022, which ends in March 2023.
Although we don’t know how well this technology works in practice, based upon the specifications the hardware appears to be a strong challenge to both D-Wave’s current and next generation machines. D-Wave may still have advantages due to their Leap application environment, algorithm experience, customer relationships, and a time-to-market head start, but it will be interesting to see how this will play out in the year’s ahead.
For more information on Fujitsu’s announcement and digital annealer technology, you can view their press release here, an “Introduction of Digital Annealer” overview presentation here, and the home page for their digital annealer product line here.