Japan – NEC Develops the World’s First Unit Cell Facilitating Scaling Up to a Fully-connected Quantum Annealing Architecture

NEC Corporation (TSE: 6701) has developed the world’s first LHZ scheme(1) unit cell facilitating scaling up to a fully-connected architecture using superconducting parametron(2) quantum bits (qubits). NEC has succeeded in demonstrating quantum annealing operations using these qubits, which will enable high accuracy calculations. Via this achievement, NEC has made further progress toward the production of a quantum annealing machine(3), which is a type of quantum computer.
Combinational optimization is important for finding solutions to complex social issues. It aims to find the optimal solution from an enormous set of potential choices. In 1999, NEC developed a superconducting qubit for use in gate-type quantum computers. Since then, NEC has applied the technology in the research and development of a quantum annealing machine using superconducting parametron qubits that can solve combinatorial optimization problems at high speed and with great accuracy.

NEC has developed a four qubit unit cell of the LHZ scheme. This enables scaling to multiple fully-connected logical qubits utilizing superconducting parametron and circuit coupling technology. NEC has achieved a world first by successfully solving small-scale combinatorial optimization problems via quantum annealing using this new technology. In another world first, NEC has also developed a three-dimensional structure technology that efficiently connects many LHZ scheme unit cells arranged in a tile pattern with external devices.

By replicating the unit cell in a tile pattern, it is possible to easily create a structure where many qubits are logically connected to each other, whilst maintaining the features of the superconducting parametron that allow it to perform calculations with high accuracy. NEC has made progress toward the realization of a quantum annealing machine that can solve large-scale and complex combinatorial optimization problems at high speed.

NEC is working to develop a quantum annealing machine using superconducting parametrons as a project(4) commissioned by the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO). NEC is currently conducting research and development to improve the integration of superconducting parametrons in a fully connected architecture, with the aim of realizing quantum annealing machines by 2023. NEC will use these results as building blocks to further accelerate the development of quantum computers.

(1) LHZ scheme: LHZ is an abbreviation for a technique proposed by Lechner, Hauke and Zoller. As the number of qubits increases, it becomes difficult in hardware to directly connect each qubit to each of the other qubits. To solve this problem, ParityQC proposed with LHZ a transformation that enables fully connected qubits to be obtained using qubits that are physically connected to only their nearest neighbours. A unit cell, composed of four qubits and a central coupling circuit connecting them can be replicated using a tile-like pattern.
About ParityQC: https://parityqc.com/
(2) Superconducting parametron: A superconducting resonant circuit composed of Josephson junctions and capacitors which oscillates with different phases and can be used as a qubit. The lifetime of the qubit (which determines the upper limit of the time for which high-speed operation is possible) is an order of magnitude longer than that of magnetic flux qubits. It is expected that calculations performed within a fixed time period will have improved accuracy.
(3) Quantum Annealing Machine: A computer that exploits the laws of quantum mechanics to search for the minimum energy state of a cost function. The minimum energy state corresponds to the solution of the combinatorial optimization problem. The smallest unit to be calculated is a qubit. As the number of qubits increases and the connectivity between the qubits increases, larger and more complex combinatorial optimization problems can be solved.
(4) Project for Innovative AI Chip and Next-Generation Computing Technology Development

About NEC Corporation

NEC Corporation has established itself as a leader in the integration of IT and network technologies while promoting the brand statement of “Orchestrating a brighter world.” NEC enables businesses and communities to adapt to rapid changes taking place in both society and the market as it provides for the social values of safety, security, fairness and efficiency to promote a more sustainable world where everyone has the chance to reach their full potential. For more information, visit NEC at https://www.nec.com.

Copyright ©2022 JCN Newswire. All rights reserved. A division of Japan Corporate News Network.

MHI-AC&R Develops Large-Capacity Brine Refrigeration System for Cryo-Temperatures, Featuring Nitrogen (N2) Refrigerant

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration Corporation (MHI-AC&R), a Group company of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. (MHI), has newly developed a large-capacity brine refrigeration system adopting a nitrogen (N2) refrigerant having both zero ozone depletion potential (ODP)(1) and zero global warming potential (GWP)(2). The new system can accommodate even cryotemperature needs, placing it at the pinnacle of industry offerings(3). The Company has just delivered a unit of the new system to The Honjo Chemical Corporation (Neyagawa, Osaka), a manufacturer of organic chemicals and other products, and further sales in the domestic market will be pursued going forward.

Large-capacity air-refrigerant (N2) brine refrigeration system flowchart

The new system can refrigerate at ultra-low and cryo-temperatures (brine temperature: -45℃ to -100℃) through application of MHI-AC&R’s proprietary (patented) air refrigeration cycle technology. The unit also features one of the industry’s most compact sizes, enabling easy handling and transport. Its compression expansion machine incorporates MHI Group’s accumulated high technologies in gas turbines. In addition to capturing the energy generated during air expansion cooling and using it as drive power, stable operation is achieved through the integration of high technologies such as energy-saving inverter control.

The new refrigeration system contributes significantly to curbing global warming through the adoption of N2, a natural refrigerant having zero environmental impact. In recent years, initiatives to prevent climate change have accelerated in momentum. In Japan, since April 2015, when the Act on Rational Use and Appropriate Management of Fluorocarbons(4) went into effect, the low-temperature refrigeration machine market has been called on to adopt low-GWP refrigerants. Internationally, in tandem with implementation of the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer in January 2019, along with revisions to the Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer, production of chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) substitutes and phased reduction in energy consumption have become mandatory.

Today, because there are few refrigerant options in the ultra-low-temperature refrigeration field, many refrigeration systems continue to use CFC refrigerants. However, demand for CFC-free refrigeration systems is steadily rising in order to mitigate impact on the environment. The refrigerant used in MHI-AC&R’s new refrigeration system uses nitrogen, which accounts for approximately 78% of air content, so it is safe both to the environment and to humans. Use of a CFC-free refrigerant also eliminates the inspection procedures mandated under the Act on Rational Use and Appropriate Management of Fluorocarbons, and the new refrigerant is also exempt from the High Pressure Gas Safety Act which regulates the production of high-pressure gases and their consumption, etc. Another benefit is the adoption of magnetic bearings in the system’s compression expansion machine, which eliminates the need for lubricating oil and enables a virtually unlimited service life, thereby helping to ease the user’s maintenance and operating burdens.

(1) ODP is a coefficient expressing a refrigerant’s ozone depletion potential compared to the previously widely used CFC-11 (trichlorofluoromethane), which is assigned a value of 1.0. The lower the ODP value, the smaller is the deleterious impact on the ozone layer.
(2) GWP is a coefficient expressing a refrigerant’s global warming potential compared to CO2, which is assigned a value of 1.0. The lower the GWP, the higher is the refrigerant’s environmental performance.
(3) Based on MHI-AC&R’s in-house survey.
(4) The Act on Rational Use and Proper Management of Fluorocarbons is a totally revised update, carried out in April 2015, to the original Fluorocarbons Recovery and Destruction Law enacted in 2001. Under the revised legislation, commercial refrigeration condensing units and stationary refrigeration units with a refrigeration capacity exceeding 1.5 kilowatt (kW) (approx. 2HP) are required by 2025 to adopt refrigerants with a GWP below 1500 (CO2 =1).

Delivery Overview
Client and destination: The Honjo Chemical Corporation, Naoshima Organic Chemical Plant
(Naoshima-cho, Kagawa-gun, Kagawa Pref.)
Intended usage: Removal of heat of reaction produced during production of organic chemicals
Specification: Brine temperature -80degC (down to -100degC)

About MHI Group

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) Group is one of the world’s leading industrial groups, spanning energy, logistics & infrastructure, industrial machinery, aerospace and defense. MHI Group combines cutting-edge technology with deep experience to deliver innovative, integrated solutions that help to realize a carbon neutral world, improve the quality of life and ensure a safer world. For more information, please visit www.mhi.com or follow our insights and stories on spectra.mhi.com.

Topic: Press release summary

Japan – DENSO Develops Global Safety Package 3 to Improve Vehicle Sensing

DENSO, a leading mobility supplier, today announced that it has developed Global Safety Package 3(1), an active safety system designed to improve the safety of vehicles by giving them high sensing capability of their surroundings. This product is used in the Hino Ranger, the Lexus NX, and the Toyota Noah and Voxy, which were released in August 2021, October 2021, and January 2022, respectively.

The Global Safety Package uses the combined performance of a millimeter-wave radar sensor and vision sensor to assist the driver in controlling the vehicle safely. The millimeter-wave radar sensor detects the shapes of road objects, such as vehicles and guardrails, while the vision sensor uses a camera to detect the environment ahead of the vehicle. DENSO has developed the third generation of the Global Safety Package.

In order to eliminate road accidents and achieve stress-free mobility, DENSO believes it is important to not only improve safety products in vehicles using cutting-edge technology, but also develop those products at attractive prices so they can benefit more vehicles. Under this philosophy, DENSO developed Global Safety Package 3 to improve its active safety and driver assistance performance while reducing product size and cost.

Millimeter-wave radar sensor

Product features

With a wider detection angle, longer detection range, and improved speed resolution(2), this product helps avoid collisions at intersections, whether with other vehicles or pedestrians. Moreover, thanks to its improved detection capability and reduced size and cost, this radar sensor has fewer installation requirements and can be used in more vehicle types and models.

Points of product improvement

A wider detection angle and a longer detection range with improvements such as in-antenna design and radio wave transmission efficiency.

Improved speed resolution by increasing the frequency modulation of radio wave transmissions.
Reduced size and cost, with the new model using fewer than half the number of parts compared to the previous generation. DENSO achieved this by integrating the antenna and power supply board, simplifying product structure and leveraging multiple-input and multiple-output (MIMO) technology, which allows for a smaller antenna with fewer channels to transmit and receive radio waves.

Vision sensor

Product features

The sensor has a wider horizontal field of view to help with collision avoidance at intersections, as well as a longer range to detect road objects in front of the vehicle. This assists adaptive cruise control and lane changes over a broader speed range. Moreover, the product uses artificial intelligence (AI) to improve sensing performance and assistance functions, such as headway distance control – the ability to maintain consistent distance between a preceding vehicle – and traffic sign recognition.

Points of product development

– A high-sensitivity, high-resolution imager with a wider horizontal field of view and longer detection range.
– AI technology to identify drivable areas, preceding vehicles, road signs, and other solid objects based on image data. Vehicles and pedestrians in all directions, including those ahead, behind, and to the side, can be detected.
– Reduced product size and cost by taking the following actions: integrating image processing and system control functions, which reduced the number of microcomputers used; adjusted the structural design to control heat emitted from the processor; and reviewed the lens design.

DENSO will continue to develop technology for advanced driver assistance to realize safe and flexible mobility for all people, including drivers and pedestrians, around the world.

(1) Global Safety Package 3
The software for Global Safety Package 3 was developed in cooperation with J-QuAD DYNAMICS Inc.
(2) Speed resolution
The difference in speed between two targets by which the sensor can distinguish them as two separate objects when it detects them

Copyright ©2022 JCN Newswire. All rights reserved. A division of Japan Corporate News Network.

Japan – NEC Develops Secure Biometric Authentication Technology to Enable Certification with Encrypted Face Information

NEC Corporation (TSE: 6701) today announced the development of a secure biometric authentication technology that allows users to authenticate themselves with encrypted face information. This technology reduces the risk of misuse if face information is leaked and contributes to the expansion of safe and secure biometric authentication use cases.

With the application of this technology, all face information handled by service providers is encrypted. Therefore, even if encrypted face information is leaked, the risk of being misused for spoofing is low. Moreover, since users have a secret key for decryption, service providers cannot decrypt face information, enabling users to take advantage of the face recognition service with peace of mind.

Face recognition is increasingly being introduced as a means of identity verification, but in the unlikely event that registered face information is leaked, it may lead to misuse, such as spoofing. As a result, greater attention is being paid to technologies that perform biometric authentication while encrypting information, such as face information. Specifically, homomorphic encryption(1) is known to perform authentication processing while biometric features are encrypted, and without deteriorating the accuracy of certification.

However, homomorphic encryption can only perform simple operations, and processing speed is greatly reduced when performing the complex processing required by biometric authentication. As a result, it has been limited to “1:1 Identification,” which is used for logging into online services with relatively light processing. Conversely, the method has been difficult to apply for “1:N Identification,” such as facility entry control and transaction settlements, which require greater processing speed.

In order to overcome this challenge, NEC developed a secure biometric authentication technology that can be applied to 1:N Identification by streamlining the processing of face recognition using homomorphic encryption.

Conventionally, 1:N Identification has required authentication processing that includes complex arithmetic operations that are difficult for homomorphic encryption. However, this technology reduces processing by focusing on promising candidates through simple operations, rather than processing all registered users. This narrowing down greatly reduces the number of authentication operations, including complex operations, so that 1:N Identification can be performed at high speed, even with homomorphic encryption.

With 1:N Identification for 10,000 registered users, for example, NEC’s new technology can narrow down the number of user candidates in about 0.01 seconds. If the system narrows down the number of candidates to about 1% of the total number, it can perform face authentication processing in a speed of about 1 second.

In addition, the use of this technology does not impact the accuracy of certification.

Going forward, NEC will further develop this technology combined with Bio-IDiom(2), the company’s portfolio of biometric authentication technologies, in order to enhance the safety and security of personal information, entrance control, transaction settlements and more.

(1) Homomorphic Encryption
Cryptographic technology that can perform operations such as addition and multiplication while encrypting data
(2) Bio-IDiom

About NEC Corporation

NEC Corporation has established itself as a leader in the integration of IT and network technologies while promoting the brand statement of “Orchestrating a brighter world.” NEC enables businesses and communities to adapt to rapid changes taking place in both society and the market as it provides for the social values of safety, security, fairness and efficiency to promote a more sustainable world where everyone has the chance to reach their full potential. For more information, visit NEC at https://www.nec.com.

Copyright ©2021 JCN Newswire. All rights reserved. A division of Japan Corporate News Network.

Japan – NEC Develops High-speed and High-precision Object Detection Acceleration Technology for Edge Equipment

NEC Corporation (TSE: 6701) today announced the development of a “gradual deep learning-based object detection technology” that enables efficient and high throughput object detection for video analytics while maintaining detection accuracy.
This technology enables up to eight times the processing speed of object detection for large volumes of images, even on edge devices with limited processing capacity.

NEC aims to commercialize this technology in fiscal 2022, following further research and development.

Video analytics are expected to be utilized for a wide range of applications, such as analyzing camera images of vehicles at intersections, optimizing traffic control, and analyzing camera images of stores and warehouses to detect intrusion or to optimize facility management.

To perform these video analytics in real time, it is ideal to process them on an edge device near a sensor, such as a camera.

However, because cooling is difficult to manage and electricity consumption is restricted in edge devices, high-performance processors such as GPUs used in high-performance servers are not available, and processing capacity is constrained.

In video analytics, object detection software that utilizes deep learning (hereinafter “object detection AI model”) performs object detection processing in order to find the object to be analyzed from images captured by a camera

Since highly accurate object detection AI models have a large amount of operations though, it is difficult for edge devices to process a large amount of images due to constraints on processing capacity. If the amount of operations for a high-speed object detection AI model is reduced, for example, the accuracy declines and the recognition accuracy requirements for image analysis cannot be met.

Application of NEC’s newly developed gradual deep learning-based object detection technology enables efficient, high-speed, and high-precision detection of subjects from a large amount of images, even in an edge device with limited processing capacity, and enables simultaneous processing of images from multiple cameras in real time.

Technology Features

1. High-speed, high-precision detection at the same time

This technology combines an object detection AI model that is high-speed, but is only roughly accurate, with another object detection AI model that is highly accurate, but computationally complex. This combination enables efficient processing of multiple images and results in high-speed, high-precision detection.

First, a high-speed object detection AI model detects multiple objects quickly, but with rough accuracy, then the detected results are processed together with a high-precision object detection AI model to gradually refine the detected objects.

As a result, in an example of detecting a car license plate from a camera image, processing speed was approximately eight times faster than when using an object detection AI model with high accuracy alone, while maintaining detection accuracy*.

2. Compatible with various detection targets, detection methods, and AI chips

This technology is compatible with a diverse range of object detection processes according to detection targets, such as people, vehicles and car license plates, without being limited to specific detection targets and specific processing methods.

In addition, the technology’s application is not limited to a specific AI chip. By taking advantage of the fact that AI chips have a large number of computing resources in common, the technology makes effective use of the internal computing power of chips.

Going forward, NEC aims to enhance the safety, security, and convenience of society by expanding the use of video analytics technologies to a wide variety of applications.

*Speed varies depending on the device used, the type of detection engine and the quality of image data.

About NEC Corporation

NEC Corporation has established itself as a leader in the integration of IT and network technologies while promoting the brand statement of “Orchestrating a brighter world.” NEC enables businesses and communities to adapt to rapid changes taking place in both society and the market as it provides for the social values of safety, security, fairness and efficiency to promote a more sustainable world where everyone has the chance to reach their full potential. For more information, visit NEC at https://www.nec.com.