Industry-Academia Collaboration Develops "Digital Annealing Algorithm" to Accelerate Material Screening in Industries

Digital annealing, a technology inspired by quantum principles, aims to solve complex problems that are traditionally time-consuming and beyond the capabilities of conventional computing until quantum computers are ready for formal use. With support from the National Science Council, Professor , Ching-Ray Chang of Chung Yuan Christian University and Chien-Hung CHO, a PhD student at National Taiwan University, collaborated with Formosa Plastics Corporation and the Institute for Information Industry. Together, they carried out joint research in the field of industry, academia and research, using the digital annealing hardware from Fujitsu. Their efforts have resulted in the successful development of a digital annealing algorithm that has reduced the time required for material screening in the industry to as little as 1/10 of the original time. This breakthrough promises significant acceleration for industries involved in chemical synthesis and new compound research.


Interdisciplinary Experts from Industry, Academia, and Research Collaborate to Develop Digital Annealing Algorithm for Chemical Compound Screening

After more than two years of extensive discussions and regular interactions among experts in chemical engineering, information technology, physics and mathematics, the research team has developed a digital annealing algorithm suitable for cyclic compound screening. The results of the algorithm were executed on Fujitsu's third-generation digital annealing hardware using Formosa Plastics Group's extensive compound database and Quadratic Unconstrained Binary Optimisation (QUBO) fitting parameters, resulting in significant performance improvements.

The result of this collaboration was chosen for the cover of a forthcoming issue of the journal Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research. Following confirmation of the selected molecules by Formosa Plastics' pilot plant, they are now undergoing relevant tests in PVC production processes.


Research Team Expanding Algorithm Application to Other Compounds and Drug Synthesis

The research team is currently working on the extension of the developed algorithm to applications in the synthesis of other compounds. From an industrial point of view, such a screening technology has immense potential in the field of materials development, which is not limited to the inhibitors discussed in this article. The team is also focusing on the development of hygroscopic materials and battery additives, and is initiating preliminary studies in optoelectronics, catalytic materials and other areas. This demonstrates the potential to accelerate industrial development.


Digital annealing is the execution of parallel and real-time computations, enabling rapid processing of complex combinatorial optimisation problems within a short period of time. This technology is particularly suitable for solving various combinatorial optimization problems. Examples include the travelling salesman problem and packing problems. At present, the research and software development related to the annealing technology is also a part of the Quantum National Team Project.


The corresponding author of the research paper is Chien-Hung CHO, a doctoral student from National Taiwan University. Other members include Professor Ching-Ray Chang and Jheng-Wei Su from Chung Yuan Christian University, as well as Pin-Hong Chen, Tzu-Wei Lin, Shin-Hong Liu, Tsung-Hui Li, and Ying-Yuan Lee from Formosa Plastics Corporation, and Lien-Po Yu from the Institute for Information Industry. DA hardware technology was provided by Fujitsu.


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Last Modified : 2024/05/02