Technology Innovation Institute joins the quantum computing challenge with launch of open-source ‘Qibo’

His Excellency Faisal Al Bannai, Secretary General of Advanced Technology Research Council (ATRC)

Abu Dhabi, UAE:Technology Innovation Institute (TII), the applied research pillar of Advanced Technology Research Council (ATRC), today announced that its Quantum Research Centre (QRC) has developed the first simulation version of ‘Qibo’, a versatile open-source quantum computing programming framework, in collaboration with researchers from around the world.

The development follows a series of rapid announcements at Technology Innovation Institute since the first Advanced Technology Research Council board meeting in August 2020.

Technology Innovation Institute strives to create innovation for a better world. The development of an open-source programming framework will have compelling benefits for the global research community.

Qibo is designed to support quantum algorithms across different computer systems, including support to hardware accelerators such as graphics processing units (GPUs) and multiple quantum devices. This versatility makes Qibo easy to use for quantum programming and accelerates research and applications. Written in programming languages such as Python and C/C++, Qibo is the entry point for a full stack programming platform, able to run quantum algorithms across different quantum computers and simulators.

Qibo is a joint project by Quantum Research Centre; Qilimanjaro Quantum Tech, the Barcelona-based quantum computing company; and researchers at other global centres. TII’s Quantum Research Centre team is led by Chief Researcher Prof José Ignacio Latorre. The first release of Qibo was published in September 2020, with the final version set for launch within the next two years.

Speaking on the announcement, His Excellency Faisal Al Bannai, Secretary General of Advanced Technology Research Council (ATRC), said: “The fact that Qibo is open-source will be a significant advantage to the world of programming and marks a major contribution to the research community and the advancement of scientific inquiry. Initial benchmark studies that show Qibo outperforming other computing languages is a clear indication of the quality of research currently being undertaken at Quantum Research Centre at Technology Innovation Institute.”

Prof José Ignacio Latorre, Chief Researcher at Quantum Research Centre, said: “We are committed to innovation that transcends boundaries. The quantum advantage in computing will offer notable benefits to broader society, ranging from life-sciences, artificial intelligence, and finance.”

Quantum Research Centre is one of seven initial dedicated research centres that are part of Technology Innovation Institute (TII). The Qibo code published in the research paper can be accessed via a GitHub link 

About Technology Innovation Institute (TII):

Technology Innovation Institute (TII) is the dedicated ‘applied research’ pillar of Advanced Technology Research Council (ATRC). TII is a pioneering global research and development centre that focuses on applied research and new-age technology capabilities. The Institute has seven initial dedicated research centres in quantum, autonomous robotics, cryptography, advanced materials, digital security, directed energy and secure systems. By working with exceptional talent, universities, research institutions and industry partners from all over the world, the Institute connects an intellectual community and contributes to building an R&D ecosystem reinforcing Abu Dhabi and the UAE’s status as a global hub for innovation.

About Quantum Research Centre (QRC):

Quantum Research Centre – at Technology Innovation Institute (TII) – has been created to develop world-class quantum-theoretical and experimental research by building and operating the first quantum computer in the MENA region while advancing quantum communications and quantum sensors. The Centre aims to develop pioneering technologies backed by the expertise of an international team of leading researchers, dedicated to achieving a ‘Quantum Advantage’ which will transform the power and scope of computers.

What is Qibo and how does it work?

Qibo is a library for classical simulation of quantum algorithms. Qibo was optimised for high performance quantum simulation on classical hardware, and it makes use of all the computing resources available on a machine. To carry out a simulation, Qibo splits the work among the available processing units to carry out calculations in parallel. A normal computer typically has a central processing unit (CPU) with multi-threading support and graphics processing unit card (GPU), but one could install multiple processors and graphics cards and Qibo will makes use of them. In the future, Qibo will be able to make use of the resources of multiple machines.

Qibo will be made of multiple software components (a programming library, a programming environment, a server and scheduling system, etc.). The version recently released includes an open-source quantum computing simulation library for Python, one of the most popular programming languages nowadays. The rest of the components are under development and they are linked to the development of the hardware (the quantum computers) which is planned for the next two years.

Qibo can be used for fast evaluation of quantum circuits and adiabatic evolution (process with no heat transfer), which takes full advantage of hardware accelerators. “The growing interest in quantum computing and the recent developments of quantum hardware devices motivates the development of new advanced computational tools focused on performance and usage simplicity,” the researchers noted in the recently-published research paper.

Qibo, the researchers said, introduces a new quantum simulation framework that enables developers to delegate all complicated aspects of hardware or platform implementation to the library so they can focus on the problem and quantum algorithms at hand.

This software is designed from scratch with simulation performance, code simplicity and user friendly interface as target goals. It takes advantage of hardware acceleration such as multi-threading CPU (central processing unit), single GPU (graphics processing unit) and multi-GPU devices, they added.

According to the researchers, quantum processing units (QPUs) today are based on two approaches – the quantum circuit and quantum logic gate-based model processors as implemented by Google, IBM, Rigetti or Intel, and the annealing quantum processors such as D-Wave. The development of these devices and the achievement of quantum advantage are clear indicators that a technological revolution in computing will occur in the coming years.

As shown in Figures 1 and 2 (with a logarithmic time scale):

  • In the context of executing a Quantum Fourier Transform (QFT) and variational quantum eigensolver – simulated on a CPU, Qibo exhibits a similar performance as Cirq, outperforming IBM’s Qiskit.
  • Qibo demonstrates a higher performance when run on GPU systems, for a higher qubits number.