Future of Computing - On the Road to Quantum

We present technologies that are building blocks for the “Future of Computing”. Improvements in system architecture are required to satisfy the ever-growing need for computational power. In 3 weeks we will cover the topics: technology trends, new system architectures, and quantum computing. We are working together with IBM Research and Development experts to give you insights from the industry.

About this Course

Future computer technologies and trends are the topics of a new online course that the Hasso Plattner Institute (HPI) is launching on the 3rd of November. This three-week course is offered free of charge on the IT learning platform openHPI and titled "Future of Computing - on the Road to Quantum". Prof. Dr. Andreas Polze, leading the Operating Systems and Middleware Group at the HPI will give the course together with the IBM experts Hildegard Gerhardy and Dr. Wolfgang Maier. Registration for this Massive Open Online Course (MOOC), which will be held in English, is possible at https://open.hpi.de/courses/ibmpower2020.

"Computer systems of the future will be increasingly heterogeneous. Hardware accelerators such as GPUs (graphics processing units), FPGAs (field-programmable gate arrays), or specialized chips will play an increasingly important role - alongside classic CPUs" says Dr. Maier, head of hardware development at the IBM laboratory in Böblingen. It is important to find out which application can benefit most from which resource. "Likewise, existing topics such as reliability, high availability, and service-friendliness of the systems must be included. These require highly developed, sophisticated hardware, operating systems, and platform- independent software - the middleware - to be able to handle requests on a large scale," says HPI Professor Polze.

Another trend that future systems will have to deal with is energy consumption. "This cross-cutting issue is crucial because the resource consumption of IT systems is not only an important factor globally" says Prof. Polze. The placement of computation and data on CPUs, GPUs, and FPGAs can save a lot of energy.

"One-third of the course will introduce participants to the subject of quantum computing," explains Hildegard Gerhardy, who is responsible for supervising academic initiatives on behalf of IBM. She points out that IBM, in cooperation with the Fraunhofer Institute, is currently implementing System Q, the first commercially available quantum computer in Germany. "Although there are still major technical challenges, quantum computers have the potential to massively accelerate certain algorithms or to enable completely new computing approaches," adds Dr. Maier. For example, to find a value in an unsorted database, a normal computer has to test all combinations. A quantum computer could carry out these steps all at the same time and thus be much faster.

The course is aimed at IT enthusiasts with basic knowledge of computer science and algorithms. The workload for the course has to be calculated - depending on previous knowledge - at a total of about six hours per week. This includes short video lessons, quizzes, and a final exam. Questions can be asked and clarified in the discussion forum. A certificate from the Hasso Plattner Institute can be obtained for this free online course. Universities can decide on the allocation of ECTS credits for students on their responsibility.

Course Contents

Digitalization and exponential growth of data are challenges for future IT-Systems. They need to leverage accelerators of different kinds, such as GPUs, FPGAs as well as special-purpose units to meet these new requirements. This in turn will lead to more heterogeneous systems and the interconnection of these different units becomes a field of innovation. However, the integration into the system as well as programming models still offers room for improvement. Cache coherent interconnects like OpenCAPI, CCIX and CXL are examples of recent developments. We will give you an introduction to OpenCAPI and show new possible computing models.

New system architectures like edge computing place computing capabilities closer to the data-producing facilities. Open questions like the best placement of computing tasks, dependability, and others remain. Workloads will nevertheless use the cloud, but there will be data or other workloads which won't be moved to a third-party provider. Thus the interconnection of the private cloud and the public need to address those challenges. With microservices, there is a way to structure and deploy applications on these computing infrastructures.

Completely different computing paradigms, such as quantum computing become available. It becomes clear, that it will accelerate certain algorithms and requires software to be compatible with this new way of computing. There are still technical challenges to solve, but quantum computers will soon be ready to make a significant impact. IBM experts leading the field will present to you the current status of this exciting new technology.

Week 1 – Technology Trends

  • Beyond Computer Architecture (Prof. Dr. Andreas Polze)
  • On the Road to Quantum Computing (Dr. Wolfgang Maier)
  • Energy-aware Computing (Max Plauth)
  • Artificial Intelligence (Ulrich Walther)
  • Edge Computing (Markus Lorch, Ph.D.)

Week 2 – New System Architecture

  • Hybrid Cloud (Boas Betzler)
  • Building Modern Applications at Scale (Isabell Sippli)
  • Programming Models for Massively Parallel Systems (Dr. Thilo Maurer)
  • System Integration of FPGAs (Bruno Mesnet & Alexandre Castellane)

Week 3 – Quantum Computing

  • History and Area of Application (Konstantin Konson)
  • Quantum Computing - How does this work? (Dr. Johannes Greiner)
  • Hands-on Experience (Konstantin Konson and Dr. Johannes Greiner)
  • Quantum Security Implications (Dr. Silvio Dragone)
  • The Fraunhofer Quantum Project (Dr. Ingolf Wittmann)


Prof. Dr. Andreas Polze

Prof. Andreas Polze's group Operating Systems and Middleware develops programming paradigms, design patterns and description methods for large, distributed component systems. The group’s work focuses on the integration of middleware with embedded systems and the predictability of their behavior with respect to real-time capability, fault tolerance and safety.

Dr. Wolfgang Maier

Wolfgang Maier is Director Hardware Development at the german sited IBM R&D lab close to Stuttgart. His career with IBM started as design engineer for Mainframe Firmware in 1996. 3 years later he accepted the role of department manager for System z IO Firmware and started to focus on the employment of industry standard IO technologies in IBM high end servers. During his international assignment in Austin (Tx) he directed the first implementation of the Infiniband technology for the IBM POWER line. After his return to germany he extended the use of industry standards within the mainframe and headed the development of central IO hardware as well as mainframe and POWER CMOS processors. His current responsibilities also span the system packaging and system control area with special focus on workload optimization and power efficiency. He is leading the european business development of the OpenPower foundation which was founded by IBM and several other technology partners in 2013. His current focus in innovation is on Artificial Intelligence and Quantum Computing. Wolfgang Maier obtained his PhD in Laserphysics from the University of Tuebingen in 1996. He enjoys to spend his spare time with his family, loves skiing and motorbikes.

Max Plauth

Max Plauth is a PhD candidate in the Operating Systems and Middleware Group at the Hasso Plattner Institute. In 2017, Max Plauth has been awarded with the IBM Ph.D. Fellowship Award for his work on integrating hardware accelerators in virtualized environments. Recently, he has focused his research efforts on energy-aware computing and heterogeneous systems.

Ulrich Walther

Ulrich Walter is a certified senior IT Architect and Business Development Manager for AI and Hybridcloud at IBM. He has 20+ years of experience at IBM partnering with large enterprise customers across industries. In his 35+ IT career he held various roles in datacenter automation, systems programming, application design and IT management. He is specialized on the methodology and architecture for integration of AI and other ML use cases from design to production and service operations. His interest is within the dependency and life cycle management of technology and interoperability in complex environments. In this role he is also consulting the European GAIA-X project. He is a member of the IEEE Computer Society and a certified Master Architect of the Open Group.

Markus Lorch, Ph.D.

Markus Lorch is a Senior Technical Staff Member at IBM Deutschland Research and Development. He oversees the software architecture for IBM's Maximo Worker Insights SaaS offerings, which are a heavy exploiter of edge computing technologies. In his 15 years with IBM Markus has worked on various IoT solutions, petabyte scale data management and email archiving solutions, text analytics and text search technologies and more. Prior to that he researched with Fermi National Accelerator Labs and CERN a novel authorization architecture for the Open Science Computing Grid. His Ph.D. in Computer Science from Virginia Tech, USA focuses on security in distributed and high-performance systems.

Boas Betzler

Boas Betzler is an IBM Distinguished Engineer and global leader for the architecture guild in Cloud solution. The guild members have the conviction that good architecture is the intersection of institutional experience, constant adoption of new insights and technology, paired with pattern curation for incessant reuse. He is helping enterprises to utilize Hybrid Cloud to modernize their business applications.

Isabell Sippli

Isabell Sippli is a Senior Technical Staff Member for AIOps at IBM. She leads an international development team, and drives innovations in the field of analytics and AI for operations management. Ms. Sippli works closely with clients and partners, and is a sought-after speaker on AIOps and operational challenges.

Dr. Thilo Maurer

Thilo Maurer has a PhD in elementary particle physics. Working at IBM he gained expertise in High-Performance-Computing, Hybrid Computing with GPU-Accelerators, Machine and Deep-Learning, Logic Design for Networking and Artificial Intelligence, Cloud Software Application Development, and Quantum Computing.

Alexandre Castellane

Alexandre Castellane is a Sr specialist engineer at IBM, France. He received a Master's degree in electronics engineering from the French engineering school ENSERG in 1992. After a long carrier in analog radio test and development for 2G/3G applications, He came to high speed digital logic through IBM's Packet Routing Switches as an application engineer. He came back to analog as a signal integrity specialist for few years before joining IBM's CAPI team to help promote CAPI/ OpenCAPI solutions. He still keeps a contact with hardware through FPGA coding for POC and testing purposes and is an open innovation enthusiast

Bruno Mesnet

Bruno Mesnet is an engineer working in IBM Systems in Nice, France for 19 years. After working on FPGA designs and then design and system validation of System On Chip integrating PowerPC 405 and 440 processors, he managed the full management of a SOC development project based on a PowerPC 464 processor, Added to that a few years managing European Critical Situations on all Power systems (P5 to P8 processors), I am finally today enabling CAPI and OpenCAPI technology through world-wide education, framework coding, client support, and proof-of-concept

Konstantin Konson

Konstantin Konson is working in IBM Research and Development Laboratory in Boeblingen, Germany, as a world wide consultant for Hybrid Cloud solutions, in particular API Connect. He is an expert in high availability and disaster recovery area. Since 2018 he is member of IBM Quantum Ambassadors team. His interests are Cosmology, Physics, Mathematics, Religion & Literature.

Dr. Johannes Greiner

Johannes is a Developer of Quantum Systems for IBM's R&D lab in Böblingen. He specialized in Quantum Technology from 2010 during studies at Uni Stuttgart and King's College London, up to PhD level. He is excited to work with IBM's first Quantum Computer in Europe.

Dr. Silvio Dragone

Dr. Dragone is a research staff member of the "Quantum-Safe Cloud & Systems" group at the Security department of the IBM Research - Zurich Lab in Rüschlikon. His focus is on Hardware Security Modules (HSM) from the architecture down to the integration of cryptographic algorithm. He received a Ph.D. degree in Electrical Engineering from the Technical University Munich (TUM), Germany. In 2002 he joined the Communication Systems department at IBM Research Lab to work on network processors security. Since 2007 his work involves architecture design for cryptographic coprocessors, and system security infrastructure for IBM server platforms.

Dr. Ingolf Wittmann

After studying computer science and business administration he started working for Nixdorf as a Unix system engineer. In 1990, with the announcement of the RS/6000, he took over the AIX marketing responsibility at IBM Germany. This was followed by various positions as RS/6000 Sales Representative, Sales Manager for ERP solutions and international Technical Manager roles. In 2017 he founded the new Bitkom working group for HPC and Quantum Computing and was elected chairman. Most recently, Ingolf Wittmann was responsible for the High Performance Computing division in Europe as Technical Director and heads the worldwide technical team of IBM Quantum Ambassadors. In August 2020 he took over responsibility as business unit manager for Quantum Systems at Fraunhofer IAF in Freiburg. For Fraunhofer he moderates the project partnership in the IBM Q Network.