Experimental test of search range in quantum annealing

Nicholas Chancellor, Viv Kendon

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Abstract

We construct an Ising Hamiltonian with an engineered energy landscape such that it has a local energy minimum which is near the true global minimum solution and further away from a false minimum. Using a technique established in previous experiments, we design our experiment such that (at least on timescales relevant to our study) the false minimum is reached preferentially in forward annealing due to high levels of quantum fluctuations. This allows us to demonstrate the key principle of reverse annealing, that the solution space can be searched locally, preferentially finding nearby solutions, even in the presence of a false minimum. The techniques used here are distinct from previously used experimental techniques and allow us to probe the fundamental search range of the device in an alternative way. We perform these experiments on two flux qubit quantum annealers, one with higher noise levels than the other. We find evidence that the lower noise device is more likely to find the more distant energy minimum (the false minimum in this case), suggesting that reducing noise fundamentally increases the range over which flux qubit quantum annealers are able to search. Our work explains why reducing the noise leads to improved performance on these quantum annealers. This supports the idea that these devices may be able to search over broad regions of the solution space quickly, one of the core reasons why quantum annealers are viewed as a potential avenue for a quantum computational advantage.
Original languageEnglish
Article number012604
Number of pages10
JournalPhysical Review A - Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics
Volume104
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jul 2021

Keywords

  • Hamiltonians
  • quantum theory
  • qubits
  • computational advantages
  • experimental techniques
  • experimental test
  • higher noise levels
  • Ising Hamiltonians
  • local energy minima
  • quantum annealing
  • quantum fluctuation
  • annealing

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