Quantum Annealing of a Disordered Magnet

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Science  30 Apr 1999:
Vol. 284, Issue 5415, pp. 779-781
DOI: 10.1126/science.284.5415.779

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Traditional simulated annealing uses thermal fluctuations for convergence in optimization problems. Quantum tunneling provides a different mechanism for moving between states, with the potential for reduced time scales. Thermal and quantum annealing are compared in a model disordered magnet, where the effects of quantum mechanics can be tuned by varying an applied magnetic field. The results indicate that quantum annealing hastens convergence to the optimum state.

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