Using quantum computing, Showa Denko has demonstrated that it is possible to dramatically speed up the time required to search for optimal formulations of semiconductor materials.
Showa Denko K.K. has demonstrated that it is possible to dramatically speed up the time required to search for optimal formulations of semiconductor materials, from several decades to several tens of seconds, using quantum computing technology.
Semiconductor materials contain a large number of ingredients such as resins, fillers, and additives in various mixing ratios; by optimizing these formulations, high-performance materials are obtained. However, the theoretical number of combinations for the development theme is enormous, exceeding 10 to the 50th power. Thus, it would take decades to explore all possible combinations of these ingredients and their mixing ratios with conventional artificial intelligence (AI) models. For this reason, only a portion of the theoretical combinations had been extracted to search for the optimal combination of formulations.
To reduce the time required for the exploration, Showa Denko focused on Fujitsu Ltd’s Digital Annealer, the first quantum-inspired digital technology. In order to utilize the Digital Annealer, input in the form of an Ising model, an analysis method of statistical mechanics, is required.
Showa Denko was successful in expressing an originally developed AI model, capable of predicting the characteristics of semiconductor materials from the complex compounding conditions of materials, in the Ising model. By simulating the Ising model on the Digital Annealer, the company was able to reduce the required exploration time to tens of seconds, or about 1/72,000 of the time required by conventional AI models, which search by conditions limiting the type and amount of compounding. In addition, Showa Denko was able to obtain a formula that achieves 30% higher performance as a semiconductor material.
In its “Long-term Vision for Newly Integrated Company,” the Showa Denko Group said it would commit itself to the research and development of AI and computational science, the core of its fundamental R&D activities. The results of this development are an example of the achievements of R&D activities based on the application of “Chemistry to Think” and “Chemistry to Formulate,” both of which the Group has defined as basic frameworks for technological development. The Group will apply this development to various materials, accelerate its development activities, and provide customers with solutions for problems, to help contribute to a sustainable society.