Combinatorial optimization by simulating adiabatic bifurcations in nonlinear Hamiltonian systems

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Science Advances  19 Apr 2019:
Vol. 5, no. 4, eaav2372
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aav2372


Combinatorial optimization problems are ubiquitous but difficult to solve. Hardware devices for these problems have recently been developed by various approaches, including quantum computers. Inspired by recently proposed quantum adiabatic optimization using a nonlinear oscillator network, we propose a new optimization algorithm simulating adiabatic evolutions of classical nonlinear Hamiltonian systems exhibiting bifurcation phenomena, which we call simulated bifurcation (SB). SB is based on adiabatic and chaotic (ergodic) evolutions of nonlinear Hamiltonian systems. SB is also suitable for parallel computing because of its simultaneous updating. Implementing SB with a field-programmable gate array, we demonstrate that the SB machine can obtain good approximate solutions of an all-to-all connected 2000-node MAX-CUT problem in 0.5 ms, which is about 10 times faster than a state-of-the-art laser-based machine called a coherent Ising machine. SB will accelerate large-scale combinatorial optimization harnessing digital computer technologies and also offer a new application of computational and mathematical physics.

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