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D-Wave opens up access to small-scale Advantage2 quantum computer

Via a cloud subscription, natch – this is the 2020s

D-Wave Systems has put its next-generation Advantage2 quantum computer into the cloud, or at least some form of it.

This experimental machine will be accessible from D-Wave's Leap online service, we're told. We first learned of the experimental system last year when the biz revealed its Clarity Roadmap, which includes plans for a gate-model quantum system. Advantage2 sports D-Wave's latest topology and qubit design that apparently increases connectivity and aims to deliver greater performance by reducing noise.

"By making the Advantage2 prototype available in the Leap quantum cloud service today, the company is providing an early snapshot for exploration and learning by developers and researchers," D-Wave said in a canned statement.

While the full Advantage2 annealing computer is expected to feature 7,000 qubits and is slated for availability sometime during 2023-2024, the cloud-hosted prototype has been built with about 500 qubits. That said, it represents a version of the upcoming full-scale product, and thus has all of that machine's core functionality available for testing, D-Wave said.

This functionality includes a so-called Zephyr topology for the qubits, with 20-way inter-qubit connectivity and an updated qubit design. D-Wave said those qubits were built using a multi-layer superconducting fabrication process that is claimed to provide greater qubit coherence for increased performance.

In its Zephyr white paper [PDF], D-Wave explains that the qubits in its systems are arranged in a lattice, and oriented vertically or horizontally. There are couplers to connect pairs of orthogonal qubits (those with opposite orientation), and external couplers to connect colinear pairs of qubits (parallel pairs of qubits).

With the older Pegasus topology, D-Wave introduced a third type called odd couplers, which connect parallel qubit pairs in adjacent rows or columns in the lattice. The Zephyr topology features these three coupler types, with a total of two odd couplers, two external couplers, and sixteen internal couplers.

According to D-Wave, early benchmarks with the smaller-scale prototype system have demonstrated more compact embeddings, lower error rates, plus improved solution quality and an increased probability of finding optimal solutions.

D-Wave’s Director for Quantum Annealing Products Emile Hoskinson said Advantage2 was incorporating all the lessons the company has learned from 15 years of building quantum annealing systems.

“The Advantage2 prototype is designed to share what we’re learning and gain feedback from the community as we continue to build towards the full Advantage2 system,” she commented. “Those learnings have accelerated our ability to bring innovations in fabrication processes and materials, and hardware and software more quickly into our development cycle.”

As stated, access to the Advantage2 prototype is being made available via D-Wave’s Leap subscription-based quantum cloud service. In addition to this, developers and engineers can access other D-Wave systems, including an Advantage system that the firm has physically located at the University of Southern California for US customers, rather than operating out of D-Wave’s facilities in British Columbia. ®

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