The road to hybrid quantum-HPC: Meet IQM Quantum Computers and LRZ at ISC 2023

Quantum computing will play a huge role in the future of high-performance computing (HPC), but creating that future requires education, collaboration among players in the ecosystem, and tools to get there.

For over two years, Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ), one of Germany’s three national supercomputing centres, and IQM Quantum Computers, a European leader in building quantum computers, have been working on quantum computing and HPC integration topics.

Both LRZ and IQM have several initiatives running in Germany, including the Digital-Analog Quantum Computers (DAQC) and Q-Exa project, which will enable users of a supercomputing centre to explore a quantum computer in combination with HPC acceleration.

“We are progressing well with the Q-Exa project. We are actively prepping the site and moving to the installation phase of the quantum system in June 2023. We’ve researched, experimented, and mapped out the software path and are actively building the stack.

“The knowledge and assets gained from the DAQC project are being promoted and hardened for use in Q-Exa, while Q-Exa contributes new knowledge from our project partners, including validation studies and domain target applications,” said Laura Schulz, the Department Head of Quantum Computing and Technologies at the LRZ.

She explained that merging quantum computers with HPC requires a layered approach. “New infrastructure parameters to host quantum systems in HPC centres include tight coupling of the systems at the hardware level, common scheduling and resource management, programming models, new standards, hybrid algorithm development, multidisciplinary culture alignment, and more.”

An array of independently complex topics defines this new field, and all of this culminates in the realisation of the Q-Exa project. Both LRZ and IQM work well together to fully contribute their resources, drive, and shared common spirit to see this next generation of barrier-breaking advanced computing succeed.

“We had a common basis from the start: we both understand the need to start integrating quantum with HPC now. And we share a common goal in this project: We work to integrate quantum into HPC systems in a way that is usable and useful for researchers seeking to level up their results with the computational upgrade this hybrid approach will bring,” added Prof. Dr. Dieter Kranzlmüller, Chairman of the Board of Directors at LRZ.

How can the HPC community best adapt?

From the HPC user side, according to the HPC Integration Lead at IQM, Dr. Bruno Taketani, it is crucial to identify use cases where workflows would require HPC and quantum computers to work together.

“Not only does this justify the integration, but it also informs those development system management tools on relevant workflows, which will allow the tools to be optimised and adapted to them,” he said.

He further explained that legacy code requires heavy investment to be adapted to new technologies, adding that “at this point it is more appropriate to look at new applications and how they can potentially profit from quantum computers." Adapt these applications, and once quantum computers become more mature, it will be easier to evaluate if legacy codes should be adapted to work with quantum computers.”

In addition, he said, “Get access to simulators of quantum circuits to start learning, and look to have access to real quantum computer backends. This helps understand the current limitations of quantum computers, which can guide the development of Noisy Intermediate Scale Quantum (NISQ) algorithms.”

Dr. Taketani is also urging users to look for commercially available solutions. “There are a large number of products in the market that can speed up learning and the usage of quantum computers. The HPC community can voice their interest in quantum computer so that access to these systems can be increased, and it will emphasise the need for educational programs in the field.”

From the system management side, Dr. Taketani said players need to understand how to best integrate quantum computer into HPC workflows and prepare and develop system management tools to achieve that. “It is important to make sure not to work in silos. The two communities have to work together.”

On the role IQM is playing in building a workforce of designers and developers who are specifically familiar with quantum computing technologies and the integration of these technologies into HPC workflows, he said the company is educating decision-makers that can help establish cross-discipline training and educational programs.

IQM recently rolled out IQM Academy, a free online quantum training course to educate and prepare talent for quantum workforce development.

Momentum within Europe and elsewhere to bring quantum and HPC together

According to Prof. Dr. Kranzlmüller, Europe has a robust portfolio of HPC systems of various sizes and architectures. He stated that the European Union and its member states follow a globally unique commitment and momentum to place its quantum systems into data centres with the clear mandate to connect the technology and optimise the communication and performance of the two to the benefit of the scientific user community.

What should the HPC community expect from the LRZ and IQM at ISC 2023? 

Schulz said LRZ’s collaboration with IQM will focus on integrating the acceleration power of quantum computing into the robust supercomputing realm. “We’re keen to share our experiences, lessons learned, and results we have obtained in two research projects we collaborate extensively on: the BMBF-funded projects DAQC and Q-Exa.”

On Monday, May 22, from 1:00pm to 2:00pm (CEST) at Hall E, Schulz will be on a panel discussion with hosting sites for EuroHPC supercomputers.

On the other hand, IQM has lined up a number of interactive activities, including showcasing a quantum computer at the booth H801 of the Gauss Centre for Supercomputing (GCS) where LRZ is exhibiting, a talk by its Chief Operating Officer and Co-founder, Dr. Juha Vartiainen, on IQM’s Co-Design Quantum Computers on Monday, May 22 from 5:40pm to 6:00pm (CEST) at the HPC Solutions Forum at booth K1001, and an experience with remote access, virtual reality, and microscope demos at booth C305.

In addition, IQM’s HPC Integration Lead, Dr. Bruno Taketani, will participate in a workshop on ETP4HPC Tackling Quantum: HP-QC Software Stack Development for Hybrid Systems and Applications on May 22 from 5:40pm to 6pm (CEST) at booth K1001, while Mattias Beurle, Senior Quantum Software Engineer, will take part in a workshop on Quantum and Hybrid Quantum/Classical Computer Approaches on May 25 from 9am to 6pm at Hall Y8.

ISC is one of the most prominent international conferences and exhibitions in the HPC field. The event brings together technology providers and users from all around the world to foster the growth of a global HPC community.


Michael Sarpong Bruce is a Communications Specialist at IQM. He has over ten years of experience in marketing and communications across diverse industries, including mining, telecommunications, and insurance. He is also a former business journalist and has experience in public relations and media buying agencies.