Experimental investigation of performance differences between coherent Ising machines and a quantum annealer

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Science Advances  24 May 2019:
Vol. 5, no. 5, eaau0823
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aau0823


Physical annealing systems provide heuristic approaches to solving combinatorial optimization problems. Here, we benchmark two types of annealing machines—a quantum annealer built by D-Wave Systems and measurement-feedback coherent Ising machines (CIMs) based on optical parametric oscillators—on two problem classes, the Sherrington-Kirkpatrick (SK) model and MAX-CUT. The D-Wave quantum annealer outperforms the CIMs on MAX-CUT on cubic graphs. On denser problems, however, we observe an exponential penalty for the quantum annealer [exp(–αDWN2)] relative to CIMs [exp(–αCIMN)] for fixed anneal times, both on the SK model and on 50% edge density MAX-CUT. This leads to a several orders of magnitude time-to-solution difference for instances with over 50 vertices. An optimal–annealing time analysis is also consistent with a substantial projected performance difference. The difference in performance between the sparsely connected D-Wave machine and the fully-connected CIMs provides strong experimental support for efforts to increase the connectivity of quantum annealers.

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