Energy Use in Quantum Data Centers: Scaling the Impact of Computer Architecture, Qubit Performance, Size, and Thermal Parameters

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus Citations

Abstract

As quantum computers increase in size, the total energy used by a quantum data center, including the cooling, will become a greater concern. The cooling requirements of quantum computers, which operate at temperatures near absolute zero, are determined by computing system parameters, including the number and type of physical qubits, the packaging efficiency of the system, and the split between circuits operating at cryogenic temperatures and those operating at room temperature. When combined with thermal system parameters such as cooling efficiency and cryostat heat transfer, the total energy use can be determined using a first-principles energy model. These models show that cooling of quantum computers differs in two fundamental ways from conventional data centers: (1) the energy required for cooling is much greater than the energy required for computation, and (2) the cooling loads are sensitive to the computational architecture. The temperature requirements for different qubit types can change energy requirements by orders of magnitude. Power use and computational power, as quantified by quantum volume, are analytically correlated. Approaches are identified for minimizing energy use in integrated quantum systems relative to computational power. Designing a sustainable quantum computer will require both efficient cooling and system design that minimizes cooling requirements.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)864-874
Number of pages11
JournalIEEE Transactions on Sustainable Computing
Volume7
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 IEEE.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-2C00-79350

Keywords

  • Cryogenics
  • data center integration
  • energy efficiency
  • quantum computing
  • sustainability

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