A fully programmable 100-spin coherent Ising machine with all-to-all connections

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Science  04 Nov 2016:
Vol. 354, Issue 6312, pp. 614-617
DOI: 10.1126/science.aah5178

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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


Unconventional, special-purpose machines may aid in accelerating the solution of some of the hardest problems in computing, such as large-scale combinatorial optimizations, by exploiting different operating mechanisms than those of standard digital computers. We present a scalable optical processor with electronic feedback that can be realized at large scale with room-temperature technology. Our prototype machine is able to find exact solutions of, or sample good approximate solutions to, a variety of hard instances of Ising problems with up to 100 spins and 10,000 spin-spin connections.

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