A Sneak Peek into Our Next-Generation Advantage Quantum Computer

7 min readJun 16, 2022

Consistent and Predictable Execution on Our Clarity Product Roadmap

As you may know, it is our philosophy to be #relentlesslyrealistic and hyper-focused in our pursuit of delivering continuous innovation and value to our customers and the market. Today we are excited to give an update and showcase some exciting progress against a key milestone on our annealing roadmap.

A few quarters ago (in our Clarity Roadmap announcement), we unveiled our plans for our next-generation, lower-noise, Advantage2 annealing quantum computer for 2023–2024. In just a few months, we’ve made significant headway on the Advantage2 path, which is a testament to our passion for bringing the best products to market so that our customers continue to see increasing business value from quantum computing. We do this through operational excellence across all functions, a heads-down and mission-driven focus, and unique approach to quantum development (which we will share more on below). And, because we are a customer-driven company, it only makes sense for us to share this update early, in an actionable and customer-centric way with the market so that we can gather and incorporate user feedback.

Today’s News: A Small-Scale, Experimental Prototype of Advantage2™, Our Next-Generation Annealing Quantum Computer Available Today in the Leap™ Quantum Cloud Service

We’re giving a sneak peek into the early Advantage2 prototype not only to show the exciting technical progress, but also to enable customers to try it out on a small scale. The experimental, small-scale prototype has 500+ qubits, woven together in the new Zephyr topology with 20-way inter-qubit connectivity, enabled by an innovative new qubit design. In early benchmarks, 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.

A Discussion with Dr. Emile Hoskinson, Advantage2 Product Lead and Experimental Physicist at D-Wave

To best understand the business drivers, technical approach, and development path for Advantage2, we sat down with our product expert, Emile Hoskinson, to get his perspective.

Q. What is D-Wave’s approach to building annealing quantum computing products?

A. As an emerging technology, quantum computing is still in the phase where it must prove itself. Constant innovation in the quantum space is critical to move the field forward as well as for differentiation in the marketplace. We hold ourselves to a high standard in showing a path forward and continuously pushing the boundaries of what is possible in annealing quantum computing. We recognize that it can take multiple evolutions to integrate new and existing ideas into a final product, and we’re willing to take the time needed to deliver purposeful and innovative products. As such, we don’t just rely on our current architectures when we think of making new products, we continuously innovate. Our culture of innovation and constant research and development operations ensure we create room for new ideas that take the technology to the next level.

In fact, being willing to constantly innovate is critical not just in the technology itself, but also the approach to technology development. One of the things we learned in the development of Advantage is that if you simultaneously do fabrication and architectural development, then it can be difficult to disentangle the issues that arise. For Advantage2, we decided to separate these out as much as possible; by decoupling these development tracks, you can optimize the development of each separately. This approach contributed to our fast iteration time and our ability to showcase today’s Advantage2 early prototype to the world. This was also made possible because all of the capabilities and functions for the critical parts of our system are in-house, rather than outsourced. This results in tight-knit collaboration across designers, testers, fabrication teams, all contributing to rapid, iterative cycles of learning and development.

Q. How does this approach tie into your overall mission as a company?

A. Our mission is to unlock the power of quantum computing to benefit business and society, today. Our north star in doing so is Customer Advantage, or the ability to provide customers with valuable solutions to their most complex business problems. The forthcoming Advantage2 QPU will reflect our innovative development approach and the seamless integration of new architecture and fabrication technology. This is all focused on boosting Customer Advantage. In fact, at small scale, the prototype has already outperformed the latest Advantage QPU in multiple heuristic optimization case studies. As we continue to scale the size and complexity of our processors, we will further unlock customers’ ability to solve larger and more complex problems, faster.

Q. What are the key features and benefits that the prototype illustrates and why are some of these important?

A. The Advantage2 experimental prototype has 500+ qubits, woven together in the new Zephyr topology with 20-way inter-qubit connectivity, enabled by an innovative new qubit design. A good way to describe the importance of the prototype’s 20-way inter-qubit connectivity is with an analogy. Think of a social network. The greater number of connections you have to others, the greater your influence and the more complex your interactions can become. You can influence another person who influences another person, and it goes on. That’s why our qubit improvements are significant — we can have more complex and nuanced interactions. For businesses, that means better solutions.

The new qubit design also allows for a higher energy scale. To understand the importance of energy scale, think of a landscape in which good solutions correspond to deep valleys. Increasing the energy scale increases the depth of the valleys; this makes them easier to find and makes it harder for noise to knock the system out of them. What we get is both an improved solution quality and an increased probability of finding good solutions, because we can cut through the system noise more easily.

The forthcoming full-scale Advantage2 system will have the new qubit design, the 20-way connectivity Zephyr topology, and 7000+ qubits, in a completely new low-noise multi-layer superconducting integrated-circuit process providing greater qubit coherence (designed to keep the system in quantum mechanical states even longer). It will solve larger problems with greater precision, faster.

Q. Did you plan to release a prototype? What’s next as you continue to build out the Advantage2 system?

A. We did not expect to release a prototype externally, much less after the first iteration, given all of the complexities and nuances involved in both this and past development processes. As such, we were very pleased with the early results. The ability to showcase a prototype this early in the journey speaks to our growing capabilities and meticulousness in design. It also shows that our investment in a robust design and development approach is paying off. Keep in mind that this is just the beginning. We plan on turning learnings (both technical and customer-driven) from the Advantage2 prototype into further design improvements for the full-scale system.

Our parallel progress on a new lower-noise fabrication process is also incredibly exciting. As you know, D-Wave has a long history of measuring and reducing noise in superconducting flux qubits; we are continuing to do this and have seen some very promising early signals for Advantage2. While today’s prototype was developed in our current rapid-development fabrication stack, the eventual Advantage2 product will be produced in an all-new lower-noise stack. We have early results for the new stack that show a 7x reduction in low-frequency flux noise, a 3x in integrated flux noise, and an order of magnitude reduction in high-frequency flux noise. This will go a long way toward further improving performance in the full Advantage2 system.

Q. What are you hoping for customers to get out of the prototype? How can they try it out today?

A. This is just the start of the final product. We wanted to share the Advantage2 prototype with customers to gain actionable feedback. Sharing our work can validate our architecture and include consumers in our growth. At the same time, we are proud to show customers and the market our commitment to our roadmap through concrete progress. We have full confidence that the final product will be even better. To try the prototype, customers can sign into Leap and run an example.

Try out the new prototype and get a sneak peek today:

Try out the new experimental, small-scale, Advantage2 prototype:

1. If you are an existing customer, try out the small, experimental Advantage2 prototype today by signing into Leap. New users can sign up and try it for free along with the entire Leap quantum cloud service.

2. We encourage you to run the new NAE3SAT example to see the early benefits of the prototype and share those results and your feedback in the Leap community. NAE3SAT is a standard, well-recognized NP-complete problem type that is used for demonstrating computational power.

3. If you are an enterprise ready to get started building quantum hybrid applications today, we offer the D-Wave Launch™ program, a quantum jump-start program for businesses to go from quantum idea to launch.