Quantum computing promises to solve data center energy drain; leading to reduction of greenhouse emissions
(VentureBeat) Nir Minerbi, co-founder and CEO of Classiq has authored this important article explaining how quantum computing can help solve data center energy drain and reduce greenhouse emissions. IQT-News summarizes his recent article in the venerable Venture Beat.
Minerbi explains that “Data centers represent a massive drain on our world’s energy resources and are a major source of greenhouse gas emissions. These computing hubs produce 200 million tons of CO2 annually and consume 2% of electricity worldwide.” He points out that work to build more energy-efficient data centers continues at Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook, Google, Intel and an array of other companies. Many green data center efforts focus primarily on using renewable energy sources to power and/or cool standard computing equipment.
Minerbi suggests the choice of computing equipment — today and in the future — will impact energy usage. And you may be surprised to learn that quantum computers can perform some calculations much faster using just a fraction of the energy used by classical computers. A conventional data center computer may use billions of transistors. But with a quantum computer, you have hundreds — or, eventually, millions — of qubits (quantum bits). That means you only need enough energy to excite, or move around, millions of atoms instead of billions of transistors. And quantum computers can analyze massive data sets in parallel; whereas classical computers need to analyze them serially.
quantum computers will be vastly more energy-efficient than supercomputers in certain computational problems. Published research by a team of experts from NASA’s Ames Research Center, Google, and Oak Ridge National Lab have demonstrated this benefit. In their analysis, the quantum computer used 0.002% of the energy used by a classical computer to perform the same task.
Minerbi provides several examples of how quantum computing can alleviate the energy drain and the parallel climate change emergency. Quantum computing can help power carbon fixation, the process of reducing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere by converting it into other useful compounds. Plants do this naturally, but quantum computers can help us discover synthetic catalytic processes. Instead of painstaking trial-and-error experiments, quantum computers can efficiently simulate alternatives and find efficient methods to extract carbon dioxide and convert it into useful chemicals.
Sandra K. Helsel, Ph.D. has been researching and reporting on frontier technologies since 1990. She has her Ph.D. from the University of Arizona.