ORNL Develops Advanced Software Framework (XACC) That Expedites Quantum-Classical Programming
(HPCWire) A team from the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory developed an advanced software framework called XACC to help researchers harness the potential power of Quantum Processing Units (QPU). XACC offloads portions of quantum-classical computing workloads from the host CPU to an attached quantum accelerator, which calculates results and sends them back to the original system. Depending on the complexity of a given problem, this process might occur several times throughout a simulation.
Quantum processing units, or QPUs, promise to enhance existing CPU-GPU computer architectures. Future CPU-GPU-QPU supercomputers could tackle complex workloads that would be unmanageable with current systems.
NOTE: CPU is Central Processing Unit; GPU is Graphics Processing Unit; and QPU is Quantum Processing Unit.
“We built upon the accelerated node model of computing and adapted it to optimize quantum-classical interactions,” said Alex McCaskey, a computer scientist at ORNL who has been developing and refining the framework since 2016. Because quantum techniques could accelerate scientific computing, researchers are increasingly conducting research on novel quantum hardware platforms. To support that research, scientists require secure, system-level and user-friendly quantum-classical software frameworks. The team designed XACC to fill this gap.
Anyone can access XACC through the Eclipse Foundation, a major supplier of open-source software, and the framework marks the foundation’s first quantum computing project. The researchers are currently preparing to run large-scale quantum program simulations with XACC on ORNL’s Summit, the fastest supercomputer in the world, which has a CPU-GPU hybrid architecture.