Cloud-based computers with optimized algorithms work; when it comes to the accomplishments of blazing fast cloud-based computer networks, calculation of some of the properties of the deuteron atomic nucleus can now be added to the list.
A research team at Oak Ridge National Laboratory was able to calculate the precise binding energy of hydrogen and beryllium dihydride molecules using cloud computing, which may lead to much deeper insights necessary for the production of next generation quantum computers. The computations would have been difficult or impossible for any single stand-alone computing node to accomplish, and even the best mainframes would have struggled to accomplish the task.
Since access to the current generation top computing hardware is limited, finding ways to compute faster with weaker individual resources is an essential step in creating the kinds of tools that should lead to the next wave of breakthroughs. The goal of this particular set of computational experiments was to find out the amount of energy necessary to destabilize the nucleus of deuteron and cause it to fall apart. What makes the work novel is the fact that the team leveraged cloud resources rather than traditional mainframe tech to process all of the computations.
The dream of having consumer access to Quantum machines capable of making more than one calculation during a single moment is real. However it becomes a paradox to solve because the amount of computational power necessary to solve some of the equations almost requires access to the quantum machines that would only become possible as a result of the effort. Applying cloud resources spreads the heft of the calculations across many nodes and is proving to be somewhat successful so far, though researchers acknowledge that successfully developing true quantum computing would ironically render all of their work on cloud computing obsolete instantly. That eventuality is already referred to by some as Quantum Obsolescence.
Cloud computing is subject to security flaws and other serious concerns, but for academic research that doesn’t seem to be the target of any clandestine hackers, it may well be the best and only tool available for researchers to use in their quest for a truly new method of computing beyond the 1s and 0s of binary theory.
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