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D-Wave's 500-Qubit Machine Hits the Cloud

When D-Wave’s Advantage2 comes online next year or the year after, it will be the world’s most powerful annealing quantum computer, says Emile Hoskinson, an experimental physicist and the director of quantum-annealing products at D-Wave.

Credit: D-Wave Systems Inc.

When quantum-computing pioneer D-Wave releases its next-generation Advantage2 system in 2023 or 2024, the company expects its 7,000-qubit machine to be the most powerful quantum computer of its kind in the world. Now D-Wave is making an experimental prototype of Advantage2 immediately available for use over the cloud.

Classical computers switch transistors either on or off to symbolize data as ones or zeroes. In contrast, quantum computers use quantum bits, or "qubits." Because of the strange nature of quantum physics, qubits can exist in a state called superposition, in which they are essentially both 1 and 0 at the same time. This phenomenon lets each qubit perform two calculations at once. The more qubits are quantum mechanically linked, or entangled, within a quantum computer, the greater its computational power can grow, in an exponential fashion.

The standard approach toward building quantum computers, called the gate model, involves arranging qubits in circuits and making them interact with each other in a fixed sequence. In contrast, D-Wave—based in Burnaby, B.C, Canada—has long focused on what are called annealing quantum computers. Quantum cousins of classical annealing computers, these machines find a lowest energy state by slowly cooling it down—in much the same way that metals and crystals are sometimes tempered so as to minimize imperfections. Quantum annealing machines, then, start off with a set of qubits whose interactions at their lowest energy state, called the ground state, represent the correct answer for a specific problem the researchers programmed it to solve.

From IEEE Spectrum
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