Wednesday December 09, 2015

When Can Quantum Annealing Win?

The big brains at Google announced a breakthrough in the field of quantum computing yesterday. According to this blog post, the search giant thinks it has discovered a quantum algorithm that is one hundred million times faster than conventional processes. eek!

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We found that for problem instances involving nearly 1000 binary variables, quantum annealing significantly outperforms its classical counterpart, simulated annealing. It is more than 108 times faster than simulated annealing running on a single core. We also compared the quantum hardware to another algorithm called Quantum Monte Carlo. This is a method designed to emulate the behavior of quantum systems, but it runs on conventional processors. While the scaling with size between these two methods is comparable, they are again separated by a large factor sometimes as high as 108.

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