The REDAC analogue computer project has reached a first important milestone: After a year of research and development, our contractor Anabrid presented the mREDAC, the first prototype of their analoge computer at the Innovation Centre in Ulm.
The mREDAC is the first, smallest independently functioning unit of the later rack-filling REDAC. The prototype contains the basic functions for complex, reconfigurable analog computing elements on a few circuit boards. The complete REDAC will span several racks full of mREDAC units.
The Anabrid team demonstrated the functionality of the mREDAC using simple problems such as that of a two coupled spring-mass system. The electronic circuit is configured as an analogon to this dynamical system and represents equivalent equations. The result of the equations corresponds to the voltage at the output of the analog system, in this case the configured circuit on the mREDAC.
While Anabrid will continue to develop and build a modern analog mainframe computer at the DLR Innovation Hub in Ulm, a go-to-market version of the mREDAC-prototype will be available for commercial and R&D customers by the end of this year.
The full REDAC system is designed to perform computations in fields such as biochemistry, financial modeling and aerospace applications. At the same time, it will be a Hardware-in-the-Loop (HIL) computing system for the measurement and control in industrial automation. The future working REDAC will be accessible to the Ulm Innovation Hubs research teams in 2024 supporting various research activities as part of the DLR QCI’s push to connect research, startups and industry for a strong technology transfer.
Rapidly increasing demand for computing power
The goal of the REDAC project is to meet the rapidly increasing demand for computing power with rapidly reconfigurable, scalable and energy-efficient analogue computers: Similar to quantum computers, analogue computers are non-algorithmic computers. Unlike quantum computers, however, analogue computers do not require special environmental conditions or unusual components to operate.
The REDAC, among other things, will serve as a computer-based simulation environment that replicates the behavior of a physical system for various parameter choices by creating a virtual representation of testing systems in industrial applications. The REDAC has an interface to classical digital computers that it complements as a co-processor for certain problem classes. Part of the REDAC project is a software stack for reconfiguring the analog circuits with a digital interface on any computer within the DLR QCI.
REDAC was the first hardware project of the DLR Quantum Computing Initiative. In its offices and laboratories at the Ulm Innovation Centre, Anabrid works closely with the other DLR QCI teams and maintains a close exchange with the DLR institutes.