Comparing Monte Carlo methods for finding ground states of Ising spin glasses: Population annealing, simulated annealing, and parallel tempering Academic Article uri icon


  • Population annealing is a Monte Carlo algorithm that marries features from simulated-annealing and parallel-tempering Monte Carlo. As such, it is ideal to overcome large energy barriers in the free-energy landscape while minimizing a Hamiltonian. Thus, population-annealing Monte Carlo can be used as a heuristic to solve combinatorial optimization problems. We illustrate the capabilities of population-annealing Monte Carlo by computing ground states of the three-dimensional Ising spin glass with Gaussian disorder, while comparing to simulated-annealing and parallel-tempering Monte Carlo. Our results suggest that population annealing Monte Carlo is significantly more efficient than simulated annealing but comparable to parallel-tempering Monte Carlo for finding spin-glass ground states.

altmetric score

  • 0.25

author list (cited authors)

  • Wang, W., Machta, J., & Katzgraber, H. G.

citation count

  • 38

complete list of authors

  • Wang, Wenlong||Machta, Jonathan||Katzgraber, Helmut G