Inside Quantum Technology

D-Wave offers experimental prototype of next-gen system via Leap cloud

Image caption and credit. Rendering of the new Zephyr topology with 20-way inter-qubit connectivity which powers the new small-scale D-Wave Advantage2 prototype annealing quantum computer. Image Source: D-Wave Systems Inc.

D-Wave Systems unveiled an experimental prototype of the next-generation Advantage2 annealing quantum computer, capable of 500+ qubits, woven together in a new Zephyr topology with 20-way inter-qubit connectivity and enabled by a new qubit design.

The quantum prototype represents a version of the company’s planned full-scale product, which it first announced plans for in October 2021 when D-Wave unveiled its Clarity roadmap. The full commercial system will be available in the 2023 to 2024 time frame.

In its current form as a prototype, the system is available for use today on the Leap quantum cloud service, comes with all core functionality, and is “an early snapshot for exploration and learning by developers and researchers,” and intended for testing and benchmarking, D-Wave said. “The reduced scale system demonstrates more compact embeddings; an increased energy scale, lowering error rates; and improved solution quality and increased probability of finding optimal solutions.”

The full Advantage2 system, which will be the company’s sixth-generation quantum system, will feature 7,000 qubits with the new qubit design, 20-way connectivity between qubits and new topology represented in the experimental version. In addition, a new, low-noise multi-layer superconducting integrated-circuit fabrication process will provide greater qubit coherence for increased performance. Early testing on quantum processing unit (QPU) chips fabricated with the new low-noise process highlights a significant reduction in qubit noise, the company said.

Emile Hoskinson, Director, Quantum Annealing Products, D-Wave, told IQT News, “We announced our Clarity product roadmap last October, including our plans to build the next generation Advantage2 annealing quantum system. We’ve made remarkable progress against this milestone and wanted to get the experimental prototype into the hands of developers and researchers now for exploration and learning. As we are a customer-driven company, sharing the prototype early to collect and incorporate feedback will ensure we are bringing market and usage data into our product lifecycle as we build towards the full Advantage2 system.”

He also said D-Wave has been able to leverage the scalable manufacturing process it has built up over the last 15 years, including innovations in fabrication processes and materials, and hardware and software to accelerate development.

“We’ve been able to accelerate iteration time with this prototype because the capabilities and functions for critical parts of our system are in-house, rather than outsourced,” Hoskinson said. “We are leveraging the techniques from many decades of development of semiconductor manufacturing, and we have an ongoing materials development program to rapidly improve our proprietary multilayer fabrication stack.”

He added, “Because we separate out fabrication and architectural development as much as possible, we’re able to optimize the development of each. This results in tight-knit collaboration across designers, testers, fabrication teams, all contributing to rapid, iterative cycles of learning and development. This is a testament to how far our design, fabrication, and testing capabilities have come over the past 15 years and how we were able to learn from Advantage.”

In addition to showcasing the Advantage2 prototype, the Leap quantum cloud service includes the 5000+ qubit, 15-way connectivity Advantage performance update, which was released in October 2021. Leap also includes quantum hybrid solvers, like the new Constrained Quadratic Model (CQM) solver for leveraging quantum computation to run constrained quadratic optimization problems with both integer and continuous variables.

Besides giving users an early glimpse at its next-generation system, the prototype release also gives potential D-Wave investors a closer look at what to expect in the company’s near-term future as D-Wave is proceeding toward a planned merger with DPCM Capital.

At this early stage in the platform’s development Hoskinson said there are no current plans to make the Advantage2 prototype available on other cloud services.

Dan O’Shea has covered telecommunications and related topics including semiconductors, sensors, retail systems, digital payments and quantum computing/technology for over 25 years.

Image caption and credit. Rendering of the new Zephyr topology with 20-way inter-qubit connectivity which powers the new small-scale D-Wave Advantage2 prototype annealing quantum computer. Image Source: D-Wave Systems Inc.

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