Research demonstrates large-scale coherent quantum annealing

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D-Wave, a provider of annealing and gate-model quantum computers, has published a peer-reviewed milestone study of the first large-scale demonstration of coherent quantum annealing.

The research demonstrates the dynamics of a quantum phase transition in a large-scale programmable quantum annealing processor using up to 2000 qubits. 

This demonstration goes beyond the scale of any previous programmable quantum phase transition, opening the door to simulations of exotic phases of matter (unusual states of matter, outside of liquid, solid or gas, that make up the universe) that would otherwise be intractable.

The paper – a collaboration between scientists from the University of Southern California, the Tokyo Institute of Technology, and Saitama Medical University and D-Wave entitled: “Coherent quantum annealing in a programmable 2000-qubit Ising chain,” was published in the peer-reviewed journal Nature Physics. The study shows that the fully programmable D-Wave quantum processor can be used as an accurate simulator of coherent quantum dynamics at large scales. This was demonstrated showing the patterns of “kinks” separating correlated spins in almost perfect agreement with exact analytical solutions of the famous Schrodinger equation for an ideal quantum system, completely isolated from outside noise. The density and spacing of kinks depend on, among other things, the speed and “quantumness” of the experiment. Measurements of single-qubit parameters were shown to accurately predict the behavior of systems from 8 to 2000 qubits, demonstrating high levels of control in quantum simulations at all scales.

Dr Andrew King, Director of Performance Research at D-Wave comments: “Essentially, these experiments measured the D-Wave processor against a very well-understood quantum yardstick. We found excellent agreement between theory and experiment, and that gives us a lot of confidence in our ability to manipulate programmable quantum systems, both for optimisation applications and for exotic quantum simulations.”

Daniel Lidar, Viterbi Professor of Engineering and Director of the USC Center for Quantum Information Science & Technology, University of Southern California says: “By examining quantum dynamics on a much shorter timescale than previously thought possible using D-Wave’s quantum annealers, this experiment demonstrates that these devices can operate without any discernible impact from the external environment. This opens the door to quantum simulations of models that are too large and complex to be simulated by any other means currently available.”

The significance of this achievement goes beyond the basic scientific aspect of understanding quantum phase transitions in one-dimensional matter. By establishing the technical basis for large-scale quantum simulations, it has paved the way for scientifically understanding the properties of a wider range of quantum materials.

Further, the scientific achievements presented in Nature Physics underpin D-Wave’s ongoing commitment to relentless scientific innovation and product delivery. 

To date, D-Wave has brought to market five generations of quantum computers and launched an experimental prototype of its sixth-generation machine, Advantage2, in June 2022. Announced in 2021 as part of the company’s Clarity roadmap, and scheduled to be available in 2023-2024, the full Advantage2 system is expected to feature 7,000+ qubits with a new qubit design, enabling 20-way connectivity between qubits in a new topology. 

The company also holds a portfolio of 200+ patents applicable to both annealing and gate-based quantum computing. Earlier this year, D-Wave opened the first Advantage quantum cloud service physically located in the United States, which is located at the USC-Lockheed Martin Quantum Computing Center (QCC) hosted at USC’s Information Sciences Institute (ISI), a unit of the University of Southern California’s prestigious Viterbi School of Engineering.