“We share the goal with AWS to explore the practical, real-world applications that deliver customer value. And as a systems partner of Amazon Braket, we expect that its general availability will continue to drive the growth of the developer community and fuel innovations of pragmatic solutions in quantum computing.”
Alan Baratz, CEO, D-Wave
D-Wave is a leader in the development and delivery of quantum computing systems, software, and services, and is the world's first commercial supplier of quantum computers. Its mission is to unlock the power of quantum computing by delivering customer value through practical applications. D-Wave systems are being used by some of the world’s most advanced organizations, from global enterprises such as Lockheed Martin, DENSO, and Volkswagen, to national research centers such as NASA Ames, Los Alamos National Lab, Oak Ridge National Lab, and Forschungszentrum Jülich.
The D-Wave quantum computer leverages quantum dynamics to accelerate and enable new methods for solving complex discrete optimization, constraint satisfaction, artificial intelligence, machine learning, materials science, and simulation problems. These problem types are applicable to a broad range of applications in areas as diverse as financial modelling, airline scheduling, election modelling, quantum chemistry, physical simulation, automotive design, preventative healthcare, logistics, and more.
D-Wave technology uses quantum annealing to solve problems represented as mathematical functions (resembling a landscape of peaks and valleys) by harnessing quantum mechanical effects, including superposition, entanglement, and tunneling, to find their global minima, corresponding to optimal or near optimal solutions.
Amazon Braket now provides access to two D-Wave QPUs (quantum processing units): the Advantage quantum computer and the D-Wave 2000Q quantum computer. The Advantage QPU has 5000+ qubits and two-and-a-half times more connectivity than the D-Wave 2000Q system, which enables the embedding of larger, more complex problems. AWS customers can easily use both QPUs and switch between them, by using the Amazon Braket managed notebooks, the downloadable Braket SDK, or the Braket plugin for the D-Wave Ocean SDK.
The physical enclosures of D-Wave quantum computing systems house sophisticated cryogenic refrigeration, shielding, and I/O systems to support each quantum processing units (QPU).
For quantum effects to play a role in computation, the QPU requires an isolated environment. The refrigerator and layers of shielding create an internal high-vacuum environment with a temperature close to absolute zero that is isolated from external magnetic fields, vibration, and RF signals.
The QPUs are built from a network of interconnected superconducting flux qubits. Each qubit is made from a tiny loop of metal interrupted by a Josephson junction. At the low temperatures in the system, these loops become superconductors and exhibit quantum mechanical effects. When a qubit is in a quantum state, current flows in both directions simultaneously, which means that the qubit is in superposition - that is, in both a 0 and a 1 state at the same time. At the end of the problem-solving process, this superposition collapses into one of the two classical states, 0 or 1.
Going from a single qubit to a multi-qubit QPU requires that the qubits be interconnected to exchange information. Qubits are connected via couplers, which are also superconducting loops. The interconnection of qubits and couplers, together with control circuitry to manage the magnetic fields, creates an integrated fabric of programmable quantum devices. When the QPU arrives at a solution to a problem, all qubits settle into their final states and the values they hold are returned to the user.
Customers of Amazon Braket will have live, real-time access to D-Wave quantum computers. Customers can use D-Wave via the Braket Ocean plugin, or use it directly via the Braket SDK. Using the Ocean plugin allows customers to have the extra tools available via Ocean for constructing annealing problems, as well as a unified sampler API. The Unified sampler API is an abstraction layer that represents the problem in a form that can be used by the quantum computer, and selection tools that allow the user to direct which of several methods (called “samplers”) to use to solve problems. While users can submit problems to the system in a number of different ways, ultimately a problem is represented as a set of values that correspond to the weights of the qubits and the strength of the couplers. Problem solutions correspond to the optimal configuration of qubits found; that is, the lowest points in the energy landscape. These values are returned to the user. Because quantum computers are probabilistic rather than deterministic, multiple values can be returned, representing a set of good, if not optimal, solutions to a problem.