Seeking Quantum Speedup Through Spin Glasses: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly* Academic Article uri icon


  • There has been considerable progress in the design and construction of quantum annealing devices. However, a conclusive detection of quantum speedup over traditional silicon-based machines remains elusive, despite multiple careful studies. In this work we outline strategies to design hard tunable benchmark instances based on insights from the study of spin glasses-the archetypal random benchmark problem for novel algorithms and optimization devices. We propose to complement head-to-head scaling studies that compare quantum annealing machines to state-of-the-art classical codes with an approach that compares the performance of different algorithms and/or computing architectures on different classes of computationally hard tunable spin-glass instances. The advantage of such an approach lies in having to compare only the performance hit felt by a given algorithm and/or architecture when the instance complexity is increased. Furthermore, we propose a methodology that might not directly translate into the detection of quantum speedup but might elucidate whether quantum annealing has a "quantum advantage" over corresponding classical algorithms, such as simulated annealing. Our results on a 496- qubit D-Wave Two quantum annealing device are compared to recently used state-of-the-art thermal simulated annealing codes.

altmetric score

  • 7.5

author list (cited authors)

  • Katzgraber, H. G., Hamze, F., Zhu, Z., Ochoa, A. J., & Munoz-Bauza, H.

citation count

  • 69

publication date

  • September 2015