Quantum computing: D-Wave shows off prototype of its next quantum annealing computer

Jaime E. Love

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Quantum-computing outfit D-Wave has announced commercial access to an “experimental prototype” of its Advantage2 quantum annealing computer.

D-Wave is beating its own path to qubit processors with its quantum annealing approach. According to D-Wave, the Advantage2 prototype available today features over 500 qubits. It’s a preview of a much larger Advantage2 it hopes to be available by 2024 with 7,000 qubits.

Access to the Advantage2 prototype is restricted to customers who have a D-Wave’s Leap cloud service subscription, but developers interested in trying D-Wave’s quantum cloud can sign up to get “one minute of free use of the actual quantum processing units (QPUs) and quantum hybrid solvers” that run on its earlier Advantage QPU.

The Advantage2 prototype is built with D-Wave’s Zephyr connection technology that it claims offers higher connectivity between qubits than its predecessor topology called Pegasus, which is used in its Advantage QPU. 

D-Wave says the Zephyr design enables shorter chains in its Advantage2 quantum chips, which can make them friendlier for calculations that require extra precision. 

SEE: What is quantum computing? Everything you need to know about the strange world of quantum computers

“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,” says Emile Hoskinson, director of quantum annealing products at D-Wave.   

“With Advantage2, we’re pushing that envelope again – demonstrating that connectivity and reduction in noise can be a delivery vehicle for even greater performance once the full system is available. The Advantage2 prototype is an opportunity for us to share our excitement and give a sneak peek into the future for customers bringing quantum into their applications.”

While quantum computing is still experimental, senior execs are priming up for it as a business disruptor by 2030, according to a survey by consultancy EY. The firm found found that 81% of senior UK executives expect quantum computing to play a significant role in their industry by 2030.

Fellow consultancy McKinsey this month noted funding for quantum technology startups doubled in the past two years, from $700 million in 2020 to $1.4 billion in 2021. McKinsey sees quantum computing shaking up pharmaceuticals, chemicals, automotive, and finance industries, enabling players to “capture nearly $700 billion in value as early as 2035” through improved simulation and better machine learning. It expects revenues from quantum computing to exceed $90 billion by 2040.  

D-Wave’s investors include PSP Investments, Goldman Sachs, BDC Capital, NEC Corp, Aegis Group Partners, and the CIA’s VC firm, In-Q-Tel.

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