While sharing the details of proof of concept (PoC) project with NatWest for quantum-inspired Digital Annealer technology, Fujitsu said it was helping the bank solve some of its complex, challenging and time-consuming financial investment problems by optimizing its mix of liquid assets including bonds, cash and government securities.
“We’re really excited about the possibilities presented by quantum computing. Given our first application of quantum-like computing power has been so successful we think the technology could be applied to many other calculations and problems the bank faces on a daily basis. In the long run, quantum-inspired computing could completely change the way banks operate, making them much more efficient and cheaper to run, which in turn would mean customer’s benefit from better deals and improved service,” said Kevin Hanley, Director of Innovation from NatWest.
Fujitsu said that financial institutions like NatWest face the continual challenge of creating and maintaining an optimally balanced portfolio of assets, selected from many thousands of options. Ideally, these incorporate a variety of liquid assets that deliver the maximum possible return while helping maintain risk at an acceptable level. While liquidity is of utmost importance to financial institutions, the process involved in calculating the best mix of assets is generally only undertaken infrequently. Traditionally, this is an extremely expensive and time-consuming manual task.
“The Fujitsu Digital Annealer processes this type of complex scenario and provides results orders of magnitude faster than today’s traditional computers. NatWest is now implementing quantum-inspired computing power, which has enabled its technology team to complete highly-complex calculations at 3001 times the speed of a traditional computer, with an even higher degree of accuracy,” said Fujitsu.
The company claimed that its Digital Annealer also reduces the risk of human error. “NatWest can complete a comprehensive risk assessment for its portfolio much faster, as well as gaining access to a far wider range of results and permutations, therefore helping to ensure an optimized spread and reduced risk,” said Fujitsu.
Quantum computing is considered by many to be the ultimate goal for computing sciences, but current quantum computers are limited in their capabilities. Not only are they complex, somewhat unreliable and error-prone, they are also few and far between and extremely expensive to operate. The company said that its Digital Annealer represents the perfect bridge to true quantum computing, since it is adept at solving complex combinatorial problems accurately and reliably, and its current processing capability is constantly expanding to address ever more complex problems and scenarios.
The Fujitsu Digital Annealer includes software developed in collaboration with 1QBit, a vendor of software for quantum and quantum-inspired computing. The solution is now available as a cloud service. It is designed to address a wide variety of problems that traditional computing struggles with solving in a realistic timeframe. Scenarios include challenges faced by companies in a range of industries, such as the search for similarities in small molecules for drug discovery, optimizing portfolios in finance, reducing production times for custom manufacturing, and optimizing the arrangement of warehoused components for factories and logistics.
Joseph Reger, Fujitsu Fellow and CTO EMEIA at Fujitsu said, “We designed the Digital Annealer to solve real-world combinatorial optimization problems that all industries are encountering. While quantum computing is still in its infancy, we’ve taken inspiration from its approach to offer our customers access to digital annealing, which is an advanced and powerful acceleration technology available today. Consequently, Fujitsu’s Digital Annealer can solve laborious, complex problems in just a short time. What’s more, this is just the beginning – there really is no limit to the scenarios that can be examined by digital annealing.”