Finding spin glass ground states using quantum walks

Callison, Adam and Chancellor, Nicholas and Mintert, Florian and Kendon, Viv (2019) Finding spin glass ground states using quantum walks. New Journal of Physics, 21. 123022. ISSN 1367-2630

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    Quantum computation using continuous-time evolution under a natural hardware Hamiltonian is a promising near- and mid-term direction toward powerful quantum computing hardware. We investigate the performance of continuous-time quantum walks as a tool for finding spin glass ground states, a problem that serves as a useful model for realistic optimization problems. By performing detailed numerics, we uncover significant ways in which solving spin glass problems differs from applying quantum walks to the search problem. Importantly, unlike for the search problem, parameters such as the hopping rate of the quantum walk do not need to be set precisely for the spin glass ground state problem. Heuristic values of the hopping rate determined from the energy scales in the problem Hamiltonian are sufficient for obtaining a better quantum advantage than for search. We uncover two general mechanisms that provide the quantum advantage: matching the driver Hamiltonian to the encoding in the problem Hamiltonian, and an energy redistribution principle that ensures a quantum walk will find a lower energy state in a short timescale. This makes it practical to use quantum walks for solving hard problems, and opens the door for a range of applications on suitable quantum hardware.

    ORCID iDs

    Callison, Adam, Chancellor, Nicholas, Mintert, Florian and Kendon, Viv ORCID logoORCID:;