# Background¶

This chapter provides general background information on the discrete optimization of objective functions and introduces the D-Wave QPU operation and architecture to provide context for the remainder of the document.

## Discrete Optimization¶

*Discrete optimization*, also known as combinatorial optimization, is the optimization of objective
functions defined over search spaces consisting of a finite set of objects. This section focuses on two classes
of optimization objectives:

- Ising problems defined over strings of -1/+1 symbols
- Quadratic unconstrained binary optimization (QUBO) problems defined over strings of \(0/1\) symbols

Note

This limited focus is not constraining: any problem in the NP complexity class may be translated into this form.

### Ising Model¶

The D-Wave QPU can be viewed as a heuristic that minimizes Ising objective functions using a physically realized version of quantum annealing. The Ising objective function of \(N\) variables \(\vc s=[s_1,...,s_N]\) where \(s_i \in \{+1,-1\}\) is given by

Each variable \(s_i\) corresponds to a physical Ising spin that can be in a \(+1\) or \(-1\) state with a local applied field on each spin that causes it to prefer either the \(+1\) or \(-1\) state. The sign and magnitude of this preference—that is, the value of the local field—is denoted \(h_i\). There may also be couplings between spins \(i\) and \(j\) such that the system prefers the pair of spins to be in either of the two sets defined by \(s_i=s_j\) (ferromagnetic coupling) or \(s_i = -s_j\) (antiferromagnetic coupling). The sign and magnitude of this preference is denoted \(J_{i,j}\).

For example, in a single-spin system where \(h_1\) has a large positive value, then the lowest energy occurs when \(s_1\) is \(-1\). Similarly, for two spins, \(s_1\) and \(s_2\), with \(h_1 = h_2 = 0\) and \(J_{1,2} = -1\), the system has two degenerate lowest energy states: one with \(s_1 = -1\) and \(s_2 = -1\), and the other with \(s_1 = +1\) and \(s_2 = +1\).

The D-Wave QPU is based on a physical lattice of qubits and couplers referred to as the *Chimera* architecture;
see the D-Wave QPU Architecture section. The number of spins depends on the number of qubits in the QPU.
The D-Wave 2000 QPU, for example, contains over 2000 spins \(s_i\).
Each is coupled to a maximum of 6 other spins. The domains over which \(h\) and \(J\)
can be chosen for a given system are available by querying the solver properties.

### Formulation of the Ising Problem as a QUBO¶

In computer science, it is often more convenient to model with \(0/1\)-valued variables than the \(-1/1\)-valued Ising variables. Consider, for example, a maximum independent set (MIS) problem where the goal is to select the largest subset of vertices (the independent set) of a graph such that no pair of selected vertices is connected by an edge. For such a problem, it is more intuitive and succinct to define penalties to represent constraints using \(0/1\)-valued variables.

QUBOs are typically expressed using matrix notation. For more information on expressing QUBOs,
and for guidelines on converting between Ising and QUBO formulations, see *Getting Started with the D-Wave System*.

Ising and QUBO problems are NP-hard [Bar1982]. NP-hardness holds even when the problem is restricted to the Chimera architecture and to the QPU-specific range of \(h_i\) and \(J_{i,j}\) values. There are a number of tractable subclasses [Ber1996] of Ising/QUBO problems; for details, see [Kol2004], [Sch2009], or [Cou2009]. For information on the mapping of NP problems to the Chimera architecture, see the Connectivity section.

## Quantum Annealing with Ising Spins in a Transverse Field¶

The superconducting QPU at the heart of the D-Wave system, which operates at a temperature of approximately 12 mK, is a controllable, physical realization of the quantum Ising spin system in a transverse field. Each qubit and coupler on the QPU has several controls that are manipulated by individual on-QPU digital-to-analog converters (DACs); see [Bun2014] and [Joh2010]. Along with the DACs, a small number of analog control lines provide the time-dependent control required by the quantum Hamiltonian:

where \({\hat\sigma_{x,z}^{(i)}}\) are Pauli matrices operating on a qubit \(q_i\) (the quantum one-dimensional Ising spin), and nonzero values of \(h_i\) and \(J_{i,j}\) are limited to those available in the Chimera graph; see the D-Wave QPU Architecture section.

The D-Wave QPU uses a method called *quantum annealing (QA)* to return low-energy spin states
of \(\text{E}_{ising}\) for given inputs \(\vc{h}\) and \(\vc{J}\). The quantum annealing
process starts at time \(t=0\) with \(A(0) \gg B(0)\), which leads to a trivial and easily initialized
quantum ground state of the system where each spin, \(s_i\), is in a delocalized combination of its classical states
\(s_i = \pm 1\). The system is then slowly annealed by decreasing \(A\) and increasing \(B\) until time \(t_f\),
which users specify via the *annealing_time* parameter. Figure 72 shows how \(A\) and \(B\)
change over time. (For simplicity, we introduce a normalized anneal fraction, \(s\), parameter ranging from 0 to 1.)

At the end of the computation, when \({s} = 1\) and \(A(1) \ll B(1)\), the qubits have dephased to classical systems and the \({\hat\sigma_{z}^{(i)}}\) can be replaced by classical spin variables \(s_i = \pm 1\). At this point, the system is described by the classical Ising spin system

such that the classical spin states represent a low-energy solution.

Note

If you are using the Leap™ quantum cloud service from D-Wave, you can find the \(A(s)\) and \(B(s)\) values for the QPUs in the cloud here: https://support.dwavesys.com/hc/en-us/articles/360005267253-QPU-Specific-Anneal-Schedules. If you have an installed system, contact D-Wave to obtain the values for your system.

## Coupled rf-SQUID Qubits¶

The D-Wave QPU is built with a network of tunably coupled rf superconducting quantum–interference device (rf-SQUID) qubits; see [Har2010_2]. The physical Hamiltonian of this set of coupled rf-SQUIDs in the qubit approximation is

where \(\Delta_q\) is the energy difference between the two eigenstates of the rf-SQUID qubit with no external applied flux (the degeneracy point) where the eigenstates are \((\ket{0} \pm \ket{1})/\sqrt{2}\). This energy difference captures the contribution of coherent tunneling between the two wells. \(I_p\) represents the magnitude of the current flowing in the body of the rf-SQUID loop; see Figure 73. \(M_{\rm AFM}\) is the maximum mutual inductance generated by the couplers between the qubits (typically 2 pH), \(\Phi_i^x(s)\) is an external flux applied to the qubits, and \(\Phi_{\rm CCJJ}(s)\) is an external flux applied to all qubit compound Josephson-junction structures to change the potential energy shape of the rf-SQUID qubit.

To map this system to the Ising spin in the transverse field Hamiltonian discussed in the Quantum Annealing with Ising Spins in a Transverse Field section, set \(\Phi^x_i(s) = M_{\rm AFM} |I_p(s)|\). Thus, as \(\Phi_{\rm CCJJ}(s)\) changes during the anneal, \(\Phi^x_i(s)\) changes as required to keep the relative energy ratio between the \(h\) and \(J\) terms constant. In particular, the physical flux applied to the qubit to implement a fixed \(h\) value increases as the anneal progresses. Then, the mapping to the Ising Hamiltonian becomes:

The relationship between \(\Delta_q(\Phi_{\rm CCJJ})\) and \(I_p(\Phi_{\rm CCJJ})\) is fixed by the physical parameters of the rf-SQUID qubit. Changing the applied \(\Phi_{\rm CCJJ}\) moves the rf-SQUID qubit along the curve shown in Figure 73.

For simplicity, we introduce a normalized annealing bias,

where \(\Phi_{\rm CCJJ}^{\rm initial}\) and \(\Phi_{\rm CCJJ}^{\rm final}\) are the values of \(\Phi_{\rm CCJJ}\) at \(s = 0\) and \(s = 1\), respectively (\(c(0) = 0\) and \(c(1)\) = 1).

The signal \(c(s)\) is provided by an external room temperature current source. The time-dependence of this bias signal is chosen to produce a linear growth in time of the persistent current flowing in the rf-SQUID flux qubits, \(I_p(s)\). Because \(B(s) = 2 M_{\rm AFM} I_p(s)^2\), the problem energy scale grows quadratically in time (as seen in Figure 72).

## Annealing Energy Functions¶

This section describes quantum annealing energy functions and freezeout points on the D-Wave QPU and explains how tunneling energy changes as rf-SQUID qubits are coupled.

### Energy Scales¶

Two energy scales are relevant during quantum annealing, \(A(s)\) and \(B(s)\):

- \(A(s)\) represents the transverse, or tunneling, energy. It equals \(\Delta_q\), as defined in the Coupled rf-SQUID Qubits section.
- \(B(s)\) is the energy applied to the problem Hamiltonian. It equals \(2M_{\rm AFM}I_p(s)^2\), where \(M_{\rm AFM}\) represents the maximum available mutual inductance achievable between pairs of flux qubit bodies.

Energy scales \(A(s)\) and \(B(s)\) change during the quantum annealing process. In particular, a single, global, time-dependent bias controls the trajectory of \(A\) and \(B\). At any intermediate value of \(s\), the ratio \(A(s)/B(s)\) is fixed. We can choose the trajectory of one of \(A\) or \(B\) with time. The standard annealing schedule, \(s = t / t_f\), results in \(I_p(s)\) growing linearly with time, producing a quadratic growth in \(B(s)\). Typical values of \(A(s)\) and \(B(s)\) are shown in Figure 72.

### Freezeout Points¶

\(A(s)\) sets the time scale for qubit dynamics. As annealing progresses, \(A(s)\), and therefore this time scale, decreases.
When the dynamics of the complex Ising spin system become slow compared to \(t_f\), the network is *frozen*—that is,
the spin state does not change appreciably as the Ising spin Hamiltonian evolves. While in general each Ising spin problem has
different dynamics, it is instructive to analyze a simple system consisting of clusters of uniformly coupled qubits. These clusters of coupled qubits are called
*logical qubits*.[1]

Networks of logical qubits *freeze out* at different points in the annealing process, depending on several factors, including:

[1] | For a logical qubit made of 3 qubits, for example, the relevant multiqubit states might be \(\ket{\uparrow \uparrow \uparrow}\) and \(\ket{\downarrow \downarrow \downarrow}\). |

- Number of qubits in the network
- Coupling strengths between the qubits
- Overall time scale of the anneal, \(t_f\)

In general, freezeout points move earlier in \(s\) for larger logical qubit sizes, for more strongly coupled logical qubits, and for smaller annealing time \(t_f\). Figure 74 and Figure 75 show representative freezeout points for several qubit network sizes. A network of logical qubits is created by coupling multiple qubits to a single central qubit using \(J = +1\); see the Using Two-Spin Systems to Measure ICE section for more details.

Measuring[2] \(I_p\) at the freezeout point of various-sized logical qubits results in Figure 76. The figure shows that less annealing time and larger clusters move the freezeout point earlier in the anneal, where \(I_p\) is lower.

[2] | While absolute calibration is difficult through the SAPI interfaces, if temperature is used as an absolute calibration factor, the population statistics of a simple logical qubit transition can approximately determine the relative value of \(I_p\) at freezeout. |

The signal corresponding to fixed \(h\) values scales as \(I_p\). Larger logical qubits freeze out earlier in the annealing process: at lower \(I_p\). Thus, if an erroneous fixed flux offset exists in the physical body (a static addition to the term \(\Phi^x_i\)), then the corresponding \(\delta h\) at freezeout grows with the logical qubit size because of the lower persistent current at the freezeout point. This error should roughly double going from a logical qubit of size 1 to a logical qubit of size 5. The standard deviation of \(\delta h\) versus logical qubit size plot in Figure 90 indicates that this is approximately true.

## Annealing Controls¶

This section describes the features that allow you to control the annealing process[3]: per-qubit anneal offsets and global anneal schedule changes. The latter supports mid-anneal quench and pause as well as reverse annealing.

[3] | Another feature that enables control of the annealing process, the time-dependent gain applied
to linear coefficients (biases), \(h_i\), described in the Solver Properties and Parameters Reference guide, is currently used only
experimentally and not described here. |

### Anneal Offsets¶

The standard annealing trajectory lowers \(A(s)\) and raises \(B(s)\) identically for all qubits in the QPU.
This single annealing path, however, may not be ideal for some applications of quantum annealing. This section describes
*anneal offsets*, which allow you to adjust the standard annealing path per qubit.

Note

Anneal offsets are not supported on D-Wave 2X and earlier systems. Before using this feature, query the solver properties using SAPI calls to determine whether it is supported and, if so, to obtain the available tuning ranges per qubit.

As discussed above, the annealing process is controlled via a global, time-dependent bias signal \(c(s)\) that simultaneously modifies both \(A(s)\) and \(B(s)\). Figure 72 shows typical \(A(s)\) and \(B(s)\) across the annealing algorithm. Figure 77 plots the annealing bias \(c(s)\) versus \(s\). Because of the shape of the rf-SQUID flux qubit energy potential, \(c(s)\) is not linear in \(s\) but is chosen to ensure that \(I_p(s)\) grows linearly with \(s\).

On-QPU DACs allow adjustments of static annealing offsets \(\delta c_i\) per qubit, thereby advancing or delaying the
annealing signal locally for each. Figure 78 shows an example of the
annealing control bias with \(\delta c_i = 0.05\) and \(\delta c_i = -0.05\). Note that the anneal offset is a *vertical*
shift up or down in annealing control bias, not a shift in \(s\).

Advancing or delaying the annealing bias by setting \(\delta c_i \ne 0\) changes the transverse field \(A_i(s)\) with respect to the original global \(A(s)\). This allows you to increase or decrease \(A_i(s)\). Note that \(\delta c_i > 0\) advances the annealing process (\(A_i(s) < A(s)\)) and \(\delta c_i < 0\) delays the annealing process (\(A_i(s) > A(s)\)). Figure 79 shows typical \(A_i(s)\) versus \(s\) for two values of \(\delta c_i\). Both \(A(s)\) and \(B(s)\) simultaneously change with control bias \(c\). Thus, a consequence of advancing or delaying the annealing process with anneal offset \(\delta c_i\) is that \(B(s)\rightarrow B_i(s)\). Figure 79 also shows typical \(B_i(s)\) versus \(s\) for the same set of \(\delta c_i\).

The change of \(B(s)\rightarrow B_i(s)\) has consequences for the target Ising spin Hamiltonian parameters \(h_i\) and \(J_{i,j}\). The anneal offset for the \(i{\rm th}\) qubit deflects \(h_i\rightarrow h_i(\delta c_i,s)\), and the anneal offsets for the \(i{\rm th}\) and \(j{\rm th}\) qubit deflect \(J_{i,j} \rightarrow J_{i,j}(\delta c_i,\delta c_j,s)\). Figure 80 shows plots of \(h_i(\delta c_i,s)\) and \(J_{i,j}(\delta c_i,0,s)\) for several values of \(\delta c_i\). Figure 81 shows plots of \(J_{i,j}(\delta c_i,\delta c_j,s)\) for several values of \(\delta c_i, \delta c_j\).

The changes shown in Figure 80 and Figure 81 are \(s\)-dependent. The largest changes are earlier in the annealing process. You can choose a particular value of \(s^*\) at which to exactly compensate these changes in target parameters by rescaling the requested target parameters. However, for values of \(s\) before or after \(s^*\), a residual change in target parameter remains.

Anneal offsets may improve results for problems in which the qubits have irregular dynamics for some easily determined reason. For example, if a qubit’s final value does not affect the energy of the classical state, you can advance it (with a positive offset) to reduce quantum bias in the system; see [Kin2016]. Anneal offsets can also be useful in embedded problems with varying chain length: longer chains may freeze out earlier than shorter ones—at an intermediate point in the anneal, some variables act as fixed constants while others remain undecided. If, however, you advance the anneal of the qubits in the shorter chains, they freeze out earlier than they otherwise would. The correct offset will synchronize the annealing trajectory of shorter chains with that of the longer ones. As a general rule, if a qubit is expected to be subject to a strong effective field relative to others, delay its anneal with a negative offset.

Determining the optimum offsets for different problem types is an area of research at D-Wave. Expect that the appropriate offsets for two different qubits in the same problem to be within 0.2 normalized offset units of each other.

### Variations on the Global Anneal Schedule¶

You can make changes to the global anneal schedule by submitting a set of points that that define the piece-wise linear (PWL) waveform of the annealing pattern you want. You can change the standard (forward) schedule by introducing a pause or a quench, or you can initialize the qubits into a specific classical state and anneal in reverse from there. This section describes these features.

Note

Variations on the global anneal schedule are not supported on D-Wave 2X and earlier systems. For D-Wave 2000Q systems, the maximum number of points in a schedule is system-dependent.

Note

The maximum number of points permitted in an anneal schedule varies by system and by release.
Check the *max_anneal_schedule_points* solver property to obtain this value. For
reverse annealing, the maximum number of points allowed is one *more* than the number
given by this property.

#### Pause and Quench¶

The D-Wave 2000Q system provides more control over the global annealing trajectories than was possible in previous products.
As before, you can scale the quadratic growth in persistent current—that is, quadratic growth in \(B(t)\)—using the
*annealing_time* parameter. New with the D-Wave 2000Q system, however, is the *anneal_schedule* parameter, which allows for
a *pause* or *quench* partway through the annealing process.[4] A pause dwells for some time at a particular anneal fraction;
a quench abruptly terminates the anneal within a few hundred nanoseconds of the point specified.
Unlike the anneal offsets feature—which allows you to control the annealing path of individual qubits
separately—anneal schedule changes apply to all qubits in the working graph.

[4] | The annealing_time and anneal_schedule parameters are mutually exclusive. |

Changes to the schedule are controlled by a PWL waveform comprising \(n\) pairs of points. The first element is time \(t\) in microseconds; the second, the anneal fraction, \(s\), as a value between 0 and 1. This input causes the system to produce linear changes in \(s\) between \(s_i\) and \(s_{i+1}\). The maximum slope for each segment of the PWL waveform is the upper limit given in the Annealing Slope Range parameter.[5]

[5] | This and other properties of your system are given in the QPU Properties document. |

The following rules apply to the set of anneal schedule points provided:

Time \(t\) must increase for all points in the schedule.

For forward annealing, the first point must be \((0, 0)\).

For reverse annealing, the anneal fraction \(s\) must start and end at \(s = 1\).

In the final point, anneal fraction \(s\) must equal 1 and time \(t\) must not exceed the maximum value in the

*annealing_time_range*property.- The number of points must be \(\geq 2\).The upper bound is system-dependent; check the
*max_anneal_schedule_points*property. For reverse annealing, the maximum number of points allowed is one*more*than the number given by this property. Additional rules that govern maximum slope vary by product; check the QPU properties document for your system.

The table below gives three valid examples of anneal schedule points, producing the varying patterns of \(B(t)\) that appear in Figure 82.

Points | Result |
---|---|

\({(0.0, 0.0) (20.0, 1.0)}\) | Standard trajectory of 20-\(\mu s\) anneal. Here, \(B(t)\) grows quadratically with time. |

\({(0.0, 0.0) (10.0, 0.5) (110.0, 0.5) (120.0, 1.0)}\) | Mid-anneal pause at \(s = 0.5\). The quadratic growth of \(B(t)\) is interrupted by a 100-\(\mu s\) pause halfway through. |

\({(0.0, 0.0) (10.0, 0.5) (12.0, 1.0)}\) | Mid-anneal quench at \(s = 0.5\). The quadratic growth of \(B(t)\) is interrupted by a rapid 2-\(\mu s\) quench halfway through. |

This degree of control over the global annealing schedule allows you to study the quantum annealing algorithm in more detail. For example, a pause can be a useful diagnostic tool for instances with a small perturbative anticrossing. Figure 83 shows typical measurements of the 16-qubit instance reported in [Dickson2013] with a pause inserted. While pauses early or late in the anneal have no effect, a pause near the expected perturbative anticrossing produces a large increase in the ground-state success rate.

Another example is a quench inserted at \(s < 1\). If the quench is fast compared to problem dynamics, then the distribution of states returned by the quench can differ significantly from that returned by the standard annealing schedule. Figure 84 shows typical measurements of the same 16-qubit instance with a quench added. The probability of obtaining ground state samples depends on when in the anneal the quench occurs, with later quenches more likely to obtain samples from the ground state.

#### Reverse Annealing¶

As described above, the annealing functions \(A(s)\) and \(B(s)\) are defined such that \(A(s) \gg B(s)\) at \(s=0\) and \(A(s) \ll B(s)\) at \(s = 1\), where \(s\) is the normalized annealing fraction. In the standard quantum annealing protocol, \(s\) increases linearly with time, with \(s(0)=0\) and \(s(t_f)=1\), where \(t_f\) is the total annealing time. The network of qubits starts in a global superposition over all possible classical states and, as \(s \rightarrow 1\), the system localizes into a single classical state; see Figure 72.

*Reverse annealing* allows you to initialize the qubits into a specific classical state, begin the
evolution at \(s = 1\), anneal along a path toward \(s=0\), and then return back up to \(s=1\).
Figure 85 shows a typical reverse annealing process where the system reverses
to \(s = 0.5\), pauses for \(25 \ \mu s\) at \(s = 0.5\), and ends at \(s=1\).

Note

Spin-reversal transforms are incompatible with reverse annealing.

The reverse annealing feature gives you additional control over and insight into the quantum annealing process in the D-Wave QPU.[6] Examples of how you might use reverse annealing include:

Quantum Boltzmann sampling—Prepare a classical state and then draw a set of samples from a probability distribution that may be changing with \(s\).

Hybrid algorithms—Prepare a classical state provided by a classical heuristic and then turn on a finite \(A(s)\) and allow the system to evolve.

Tunneling rate measurements—Prepare a particular classical state and measure the rate at which the system tunnels from this state to another for a range of \(s\).

Relaxation rate measurements—Prepare a classical state that is an excited state of the problem Hamiltonian and measure the rate at which the system relaxes to lower energy states for a range of \(s\).

[6] For more information, see

*Reverse Annealing for Local Refinement of Solutions*, D-Wave White Paper Series, no. 14-1018A-A, 2017.

The reverse annealing interface uses three parameters: *anneal_schedule* defines the waveform \(s(t)\), and *initial_state*
and *reinitialize_state* control the system state at the start of an anneal.

As for pause and quench, the reverse annealing schedule is controlled by a PWL waveform comprising \(n\) pairs of points.
The first element of the pair is time \(t\) in microseconds; the second, the anneal fraction, \(s\), as a
value between 0 and 1. Just as in forward annealing, time \(t\) must increase for all points in the schedule.
For a reverse anneal, however, the anneal fraction *must* start and end at \(s = 1\).

The following table shows the tuples that you submit to get the pattern in Figure 85.

Points | Result |
---|---|

\({(0.0, 0.1) (2.5, 0.5) (27.5, 0.5) (30.0, 1.0)}\) | Reverse anneal, therefore begins at \(s = 1\). A \(30.0 \ \mu s\) anneal with a mid-anneal pause at \(s = 0.5\) that lasts for \(25 \ \mu s\). |

When supplying a reverse annealing waveform through *anneal_schedule*, you must also supply the initial state to which the
system is set. When multiple reads are requested in a single call to SAPI, you have two options for the starting state of the system.
These are controlled by the *reinitialize_state* Boolean parameter:

`reinitialize_state=true`

(default)—Reinitialize the initial state for every anneal-readout cycle. Each anneal begins from the state given in the*initial_state*parameter. Initialization time is required before every anneal-readout cycle. The amount of time required to reinitialize varies by system.`reinitialize_state=false`

—Initialize only at the beginning, before the first anneal cycle. Each anneal (after the first) is initialized from the final state of the qubits after the preceding cycle. Initialization time is required only once.

The *reinitialize_state* parameter affects timing. See *Solver Computation Time* for more information.

## D-Wave QPU Operation¶

This section describes the programming cycle and the anneal-read cycle of the D-Wave QPU. For information about system timing,
see *Solver Computation Time*.

### Programming Cycle¶

When an Ising problem is provided as a set of \(h\) and \(J\) values,[7] the D-Wave
system conveys those values to the DACs located on the QPU. Room-temperature electronics generate the
raw signals that are sent via wires into the refrigerator to program the DACs. The DACs then apply static
magnetic-control signals locally to the qubits and couplers. This is the *programming cycle* of the QPU.[8]
After the programming cycle, the QPU is allowed to cool for a postprogramming thermalization time of, typically,
1 ms; see the Temperature section for more details about this cooling time.

[7] | Several other instructions to the system are provided by the user: for example, an annealing time over which the quantum annealing process is to occur. See Solver Properties and Parameters Reference for details. |

[8] | In some descriptions, the programming cycle is subdivided into a reset step that erases previous data stored in the DACs, followed by a programming step. |

The total time spent programming the QPU, including the postprogramming thermalization time,
is reported back as *qpu_programming_time.*

### Anneal-Read Cycle¶

After the programming cycle, the system switches to the annealing phase during which the QPU is
repeatedly annealed and read out. Annealing is performed using the analog lines over a time specified by
the user as *annealing_time* and reported by the QPU as *qpu_anneal_time_per_sample.*
Afterward, the digital readout system of the QPU reads and returns the spin states of the qubits. The system
is then allowed to cool for a time returned by the QPU as *qpu_delay_time_per_sample*—an interval comprising
a constant value plus any additional time optionally specified by the user via the *readout_thermalization* parameter.

The anneal-read cycle is also referred to as a *sample.* The cycle repeats for some number of samples
specified by the user in the *num_reads* parameter, and returns one solution per sample. The total
time to complete the requested number of samples is returned by the QPU as *qpu_sampling_time.*

For more information on timing, see *Solver Computation Time*.

## D-Wave QPU Architecture¶

The D-Wave QPU is a lattice of interconnected qubits. While some qubits connect to others via couplers,
the D-Wave QPU is not fully connected. Instead, the qubits interconnect in an architecture known as *Chimera*.

### Chimera¶

The Chimera architecture comprises sets of connected *unit cells*, each with four horizontal qubits connected to four vertical
qubits via couplers. Unit cells are tiled vertically and horizontally with adjacent qubits connected, creating a
lattice of sparsely connected qubits. The notation *CN* refers to a Chimera graph consisting of an \(N {\rm x} N\)
grid of unit cells. The D-Wave 2000Q QPU supports a C16 Chimera graph: its 2048 qubits
are logically mapped into a \(16 {\rm x} 16\) matrix of unit cells of 8 qubits.

In a D-Wave QPU, the set of qubits and couplers that are available for computation is
known as the *working graph*. The *yield* of a working graph is typically less than the
total number of qubits and couplers that are fabricated and physically present in the QPU.

A given *logical problem* defined on a general graph can be mapped to a *physical problem* defined on the working
graph using *chains*. A chain is a collection of qubits bound together to represent a single logical node.
The association between the logical problem and the physical problem is carried out by minor *embedding*. For more details on
minor embedding, see *D-Wave Problem-Solving Handbook*.

The qubits, denoted \(q_i\), implement the Ising spins. Their physical connectivity determines which couplings, \(J_{i,j}\), can be set to nonzero values. The allowed connectivity is described with a Chimera graph; see Figure 86. An \(M\times N \times L\) Chimera graph consists of an \(M\times N\) two-dimensional lattice of blocks, with each block consisting of \(2L\) variables, for a total of \(2MNL\) variables.

Each qubit in Chimera has 6 couplers—4 that connect to other qubits within the same cell and 2 that connect to qubits in adjacent cells; see Figure 87.

### Virtual Graphs¶

The D-Wave *virtual graph* feature provides tools and interactive examples that simplify the process of minor-embedding by
enabling you to more easily create, optimize, use, and reuse an embedding for a given working graph.
When you submit an embedding and specify a chain strength using these tools, they automatically calibrate
the qubits in a chain to compensate for the effects of biases that may be introduced as a result of strong couplings.
For more information on virtual graphs, see *Virtual Graphs for High-Performance Embedded Topologies*,
D-Wave White Paper Series, no. 14-1020A, 2017. This and other white papers are available from https://www.dwavesys.com/resources/publications.

This section discusses the underlying controls that support virtual graphs, and that are also available for direct use: extended \(J\) range and flux-bias offsets. These controls allow chains to behave more like physical qubits on the working graph, thereby improving the performance of embedded sampling and optimization problems.

Note

Despite the similarity in name, the virtual graphs feature is unrelated to D-Wave’s virtual full-yield Chimera (VFYC) solver.

#### Extended \(J\) Range¶

As explained above, the Ising minimization problems that the D-Wave system solves may require that the model representing a problem be minor-embedded on the working graph, a process that involves creating qubit chains to represent logical variables. In an embedding, intra-chain qubit couplings must be strong compared to the input couplings between the chains.

Most discussions of chain strength involve the ratio of two absolute values:

*Chain coupling strength*—Magnitude of couplings between qubits in a chain*Problem scale*—Maximum magnitude of couplings among qubits (physical or logical) in a problem

that is,

For example, if all of our chains have \(J\) values of \(-1\), and our rescaled logical problem has \(J\) values of \(- \frac{1}{4}\) to \(+ \frac{1}{4}\), we say that the chain strength is \(4\). Likewise, if the chains have \(J\) values of \(-2\), and our rescaled logical problem has \(J\) values of \(- \frac{1}{2}\) to \(+ \frac{1}{2}\), again we say that the chain strength is \(4\).

Because the range of coupling strengths available is finite, chaining is typically accomplished by setting the coupling strength to the largest allowed negative value and scaling down the input couplings relative to that. Yet a reduced energy scale for the input couplings may make it harder for the QPU to find global optima for a problem.

To address this issue, some solvers support stronger chain couplings through an *extended* \(J\) *range*.
Because embedded problems typically have chain couplings that are at least twice as strong as the other couplings,
and standard chain couplings are all negative, this feature effectively doubles the energy scale available for embedded
problems; see Figure 88.

Using the available larger negative values of \(J\) increases the dynamic \(J\) range. On embedded problems, which use strong chains of qubits to build the underlying graph, this increased range means that the problem couplings are less affected by ICE and other effects. However, strong negative couplings can bias a chain and therefore flux-bias offsets must be applied to recalibrate it to compensate for this effect; see the next section for more information.

#### Flux-Bias Offsets¶

In an optimal QPU calibration, annealing an unbiased chain produces spin-state statistics that are equally split between spin-up and spin-down. When plotted against the \(h\) values, this even distribution results in a sigmoid curve that passes through the point of origin (0,0); see Figure 89. However, qubits in a chain with strong negative \(J\) values experience a \(J\)-induced bias—an offset magnetic field that is potentially \(s\)-dependent.[9] This field shifts the sigmoid curve of plotted \(h\) values from its ideal path. To compensate, chains using strong negative \(J\) couplings must be recalibrated to remove the bias from the chain and reduce the incidence of analog errors that may be associated with minor-embedding.

Recalibration involves applying per-qubit[10] *flux-bias offsets* to nudge the plotted
\(h\) sigmoid to its ideal position. The optimal offset value for a chain depends on the qubits and couplers involved and on the chain coupling
strength.

Note

The applied flux bias is constant in time (and \(s\)), but it appears in the Hamiltonian shown in Eqn. 2.7 as a term \(I_p \phi_{\rm flux bias} \sigma_z\)—the applied energy grows as \(\sqrt{A(s)}\). An applied flux bias is different from an applied \(h\); do not use one to correct an error in the other.

[9] | This offset occurs because of the higher susceptibility of the tunable coupler [Har2009]. |

[10] | The same flux-bias offset values are used for all qubits in a chain. |

As stated above, D-Wave provides tools that automatically calculate and apply the appropriate flux-bias offsets when you submit an embedding that has strongly coupled chains. At a high level, however, the process of determining the value for the flux-bias offsets involves:

- Define the strong chain that you intend to use in your embedding. Define it independently from any problem.
- Sweeping the per-qubit flux-bias offset from the minimum allowed value to the maximum allowed value, anneal the chain many times (e.g., 1000) and calculate the average spin state of the chain (the magnetization).
- Plot the results, with the per-qubit flux-bias offset on the x-axis and the chain magnetization on the y-axis. Fit a sigmoid model (in this case, a tanh function) to the data.
- Measure the x-intercept of the sigmoid model (i.e., the per-qubit flux-bias offset value that results in a perfectly balanced magnetization of 0).
- Add flux-bias offsets across the qubits in the chain to achieve an equal probability of reading spin up or spin down.

This operation is known as *balancing the chain.*[11]

[11] | While you can also balance a chain by adjusting the \(h\) values on each of the chained qubits, this is less effective as a means to improve performance. |

#### Usage Guidelines for Virtual Graph Features¶

Whether virtual graph features are available may vary by solver; check for the *extended_j_range* property to see if it is
present and what the range is. (The *j_range* property is unchanged.) When using an extended \(J\) range, be aware that
there are additional limits on the total coupling per qubit: the sum of the \(J\) values for each qubit must be in the
range specified by the *per_qubit_coupling_range* solver property.

Flux-biases are set through the *flux_biases* parameter, which takes a list of doubles (floating-point numbers) of length equal to
the number of working qubits. Flux-bias units are \(\Phi_0\); typical values needed are \(< 10^{-4} \ \Phi_0\). Maximum allowed
values are typically \(> 10^{-2} \ \Phi_0\). The minimum step size is smaller than the typical levels of intrinsic \(1/f\) noise;
see the Flux Noise and Quantum Annealing appendix.

Note

By default, the D-Wave system automatically compensates for flux drift as described in the
Flux Noise and Quantum Annealing appendix. If you choose to disable this behavior,
we recommend that you apply flux-bias offsets manually through the *flux_biases* parameter.

Be aware of the following points when using virtual graph features:

Neither spin-reversal transformation (SRT) nor autoscaling is possible with extended \(J\) ranges or flux-bias offsets. If you specify one or more SRTs with a problem submission, the problem is scaled down to use \(J\) values that fall within the

*j_range*property instead.When you use these features, autoscaling is automatically disabled by default, unlike in the usual system behavior.

The \(J\) value of every coupler must fall within the

*extended_j_range*property.The sum of all the \(J\) values of the couplers connected to a qubit must fall within the

*per_qubit_coupling_range*property. For example, if this property is`[-9.0 6.0]`

, the following \(J\) values for a six-coupler qubit are permissible:\[1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1,\]where the sum is \(6\), and also

\[1, 1, 1, -2, -2, -2,\]where the sum is \(-3\). However, the following values, when summed, exceed the range and therefore are impermissible:

\[-2, -2, -2, -2, -2, -2.\]While the extended \(J\) range in principle allows you to create almost arbitrarily long chains without breakage, the expected chain length where embedded problems work well is in the range of 5 to 7 qubits.

When embedding logical qubits using the extended \(J\) range, limit the degree, \(D\), of each node in the logical qubit tree to

\begin{equation} D = {\rm floor}\bigg[\frac{\min(per\_qubit\_coupling\_range) - num\_couplers\_per\_qubit \times \min(j\_range)}{\min(extended\_j\_range) - \min(j\_range)}\bigg] \end{equation}where \(num\_couplers\_per\_qubit = 6\) for the D-Wave 2000Q QPU; see Figure 87.