Computing technology has been evolving over the years. And the rise of computing technologies like quantum computing, exascale computing, and edge computing, etc., has given a new dimension to computing.
We will be looking at two of the significant computing technologies in this blog. Our focus will be on the key differentiating points and factors between quantum computing and exascale computing.
But before that, let us look at the standard definitions of these computing technologies.
What is Exascale Computing?
Exascale computing is commonly referred to as a version of supercomputing. In the exascale computing, the system can perform one quintillion computations per second.
What is Quantum Computing?
Quantum computing is vastly different than conventional computing methods. The simplest definition of a quantum computing system would be the system that allows binary codes (0 &1) to be in the active state at the same time.
It is achieved through superposition and entanglement. These two principles are crucial in the quantum theory in physics. Hence this computing method is called the quantum computing method.
Exascale Computing Vs. Quantum Computing: Key Differentiating Factors
We can clearly see from the graph that quantum computing is significantly more popular than the exascale computing as per Google Trends.
The exascale computing system can perform exaflops (floating points operations per sec) computing calculations.
To put it in a simple way, exascale computing can calculate the number that each person on the planet can calculate every second of every day for about four years in a bit.
While on the other hand, quantum computing is at the nascent stage. But, as it opens new horizons of computing with the simultaneous activation of binary numbers, it will have a higher level of performance.
The expected level of performance will easily surpass the performance levels of exascale computing.
One of the critical challenges in implementing exascale computing is power consumption. It consumes around 20 MW. This is a significant amount for a computing system irrelevant of how much work it gets done.
But, on the other hand, the quantum computing system will exhaust 25 KW of energy for a comparable unit to the exascale computing system. It will save a huge amount of electricity. We can see the daylight between quantum computing and exascale computing.
Exascale computing systems come with a lot of heavy investments. The typical installation cost of an exascale computer like Tianhe-2 costs about $390 million. This cost is for a medium level exascale computing system. The cost of higher-level exascale computers would go even higher.
But on the other hand, quantum computers are not yet available, and the predicted cost is around $25 million, excluding the investment and R&D costs.
Even though the quantum computing costs may sound a little cheaper as of now, they are not yet in the market, so that these costs could vary a lot.
Exascale Computing Vs. Quantum Computing: Conclusion
Even though quantum computing seems to be the way forward, it may take some time actually to build a quantum computing system.
Irrespective of how much energy and costs it will save, the technology may not be available for a foreseeable future.
And the governments and organizations will need to stick to and develop the exascale computing at least for the time being.