(SpectrumIEEE) Fujitsu has designed a new computer architecture running on silicon that the company claims rivals that of quantum computers in utility. Dubbed the Digital Annealer, Fujitsu has begun offering cloud services in May that employ the technology to resolve combinatorial optimization problems such as finding similarities between patterns of molecules to speed up drug discovery, choosing investments for financial portfolios, and rearranging the layout of components in warehouses and factories to increase productivity.
Fujitsu, working with the University of Toronto in Canada, has developed its Digital Annealer as an alternative to quantum annealer computing such as the D-Wave machines. Whereas the latter requires a carefully controlled cryogenic environment to function, Fujitsu employs conventional semiconductor technology that operates at room temperature and which can fit on a circuit board small enough to slide into the rack of a data center.

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