A coherent Ising machine for 2000-node optimization problems

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Science  04 Nov 2016:
Vol. 354, Issue 6312, pp. 603-606
DOI: 10.1126/science.aah4243

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Taking the pulse of optimization

Finding the optimum solution of multiparameter or multifunctional problems is important across many disciplines, but it can be computationally intensive. Many such problems defined as computationally difficult can be mathematically mapped onto the so-called Ising problem, which looks at finding the minimum energy configuration for an array of coupled spins. Inagaki et al. and McMahon et al. show that an optical processing approach based on a network of coupled optical pulses in a ring fiber can be used to model and optimize large-scale Ising systems. Such a scalable architecture could help to optimize solutions to a wide range of complex problems.

Science, this issue pp. 603 and 614


The analysis and optimization of complex systems can be reduced to mathematical problems collectively known as combinatorial optimization. Many such problems can be mapped onto ground-state search problems of the Ising model, and various artificial spin systems are now emerging as promising approaches. However, physical Ising machines have suffered from limited numbers of spin-spin couplings because of implementations based on localized spins, resulting in severe scalability problems. We report a 2000-spin network with all-to-all spin-spin couplings. Using a measurement and feedback scheme, we coupled time-multiplexed degenerate optical parametric oscillators to implement maximum cut problems on arbitrary graph topologies with up to 2000 nodes. Our coherent Ising machine outperformed simulated annealing in terms of accuracy and computation time for a 2000-node complete graph.

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