Welcome to D-Wave

I’m not happy with all the analyses that go with just the classical theory, because Nature isn’t classical, dammit, and if you want to make a simulation of nature, you’d better make it quantum mechanical, and by golly it’s a wonderful problem, because it doesn’t look so easy.

It’s not a Turing machine, but a machine of a different kind.

—Richard Feynman, 1981

What We Do

Despite the incredible power of today’s supercomputers, many complex computing problems cannot be addressed by conventional systems. The huge growth of data and our need to better understand everything from the universe to our own DNA leads us to seek new tools that can help provide answers. Quantum computing is the next frontier in computing, providing an entirely new approach to solving the world’s most difficult problems.

While certainly not easy, much progress has been made in the field of quantum computing since 1981, when Feynman gave his famous lecture at the California Institute of Technology. Still a relatively young field, quantum computing is complex and different approaches are being pursued around the world. Today, there are two leading candidate architectures for quantum computers: gate model and quantum annealing. In gate-model quantum computing, the aim is to control and manipulate the evolution of the quantum states over time—a difficult challenge, especially at large scales, because quantum systems are incredibly delicate.

At D-Wave, our approach is quantum annealing, which harnesses the natural evolution of quantum states: we initialize the system in a delocalized state, we gradually turn on the description of the problem we wish to solve, and quantum physics allows the system to follow these changes. The configuration at the end corresponds to the answer we are trying to find. Quantum annealing is implemented in D-Wave systems as a single quantum algorithm, and this scalable approach to quantum computing has enabled us to create quantum processing units (QPUs) with more than 5640 quantum bits (qubits)—far beyond the state of the art for gate-model quantum computing. Furthermore, D-Wave’s hybrid solvers, which use a combination of classical and quantum resources, accept problems greatly exceeding the size of the QPU.

D-Wave has been developing various generations of our “machine of a different kind,” to use Feynman’s words, since 1999. We are the world’s first commercial quantum computer company.

System Overview

Hardware Overview

The D-Wave system contains a QPU that must be kept at a temperature near absolute zero and isolated from the surrounding environment in order to behave quantum mechanically. The system achieves these requirements as follows:

  • Cryogenic temperatures, achieved using a closed-loop cryogenic dilution refrigerator system. The QPU operates at temperatures below 15 mK.
  • Shielding from electromagnetic interference, achieved using a radio frequency (RF)–shielded enclosure and a magnetic shielding subsystem.

Fig. 1 D-Wave system.

The D-Wave QPU (Figure 2) is a lattice of tiny metal loops, each of which is a qubit or a coupler. Below temperatures of 9.2 kelvin, these loops become superconductors and exhibit quantum-mechanical effects.

The QPU in D-Wave’s newest system, Advantage™, has up to 5640 qubits and 40484 couplers. To reach this scale, it uses over 1,000,000 Josephson junctions, which makes the Advantage QPU by far the most complex superconducting integrated circuit ever built. For comparison, the QPU used in the D-Wave 2000Q system has up to 2048 qubits and 6016 couplers.

For details on the topology of the QPU, see the D-Wave QPU Architecture: Topologies section.


Fig. 2 D-Wave QPU.


For more details on the physical system, including specifications and essential safety information required for anyone who accesses the hardware directly, see the D-Wave Quantum Computer Operations manual, available from D-Wave.

Software Environment

Users interact with the D-Wave quantum computer through a web user interface (UI), and through open-source tools that communicate with the Solver API (SAPI).[1] The SAPI components are responsible for user interaction, user authentication, and work scheduling. In turn, SAPI connects to back-end servers that send problems to and return results from the QPU and hybrid solvers. See Figure 3 for a simplified view of the D-Wave software environment.

[1]In the D-Wave system, a solver is simply a resource that runs a problem. Some solvers interface to the QPU; others leverage CPU and GPU resources.

Fig. 3 D-Wave software environment.

D-Wave’s suite of open-source software tools, Ocean, makes application development for quantum computers more rapid and efficient. Available on GitHub, these tools facilitate collaborative projects that can leverage quantum computing system resources. See https://github.com/dwavesystems to access the Ocean SDK, and https://docs.ocean.dwavesys.com for the associated documentation.

Leap™ Quantum Cloud Service

Leap™ is the quantum cloud service from D-Wave Systems.

Leap brings quantum computing to the real world by providing real-time cloud access to our systems. Through Leap, you can connect to D-Wave QPUs and hybrid solvers, run demos and interactive coding examples, contribute your ideas to our GitHub repositories of open-source code, use the prebuilt cloud-based IDE, and join the growing conversation in our community of like-minded users.

Sign up for Leap here: https://cloud.dwavesys.com/leap.

Ocean SDK

D-Wave’s Python-based software development kit (SDK), Ocean, makes application development for D-Wave solvers more rapid and efficient. Open-sourced on GitHub, Ocean facilitates collaborative projects that can leverage quantum and hybrid resources. See https://github.com/dwavesystems to access the Ocean SDK, and https://docs.ocean.dwavesys.com for the associated documentation.

problem inspector and ide