Recent theoretical and experimental results suggest the possibility of using current and near-future quantum hardware in challenging sampling tasks. In this paper, we introduce free-energy-based reinforcement learning (FERL) as an application of quantum hardware. We propose a method for processing a quantum annealer’s measured qubit spin configurations in approximating the free energy of a quantum Boltzmann machine (QBM). We then apply this method to perform reinforcement learning on the grid-world problem using the D-Wave 2000Q quantum annealer. The experimental results show that our technique is a promising method for harnessing the power of quantum sampling in reinforcement learning tasks.

We investigate whether quantum annealers with select chip layouts can outperform classical computers in reinforcement learning tasks. We associate a transverse field Ising spin Hamiltonian with a layout of qubits similar to that of a deep Boltzmann machine (DBM) and use simulated quantum annealing (SQA) to numerically simulate quantum sampling from this system. We design a reinforcement learning algorithm in which the set of visible nodes representing the states and actions of an optimal policy are the first and last layers of the deep network. In absence of a transverse eld, our simulations show that DBMs train more effectively than restricted Boltzmann machines (RBM) with the same number of weights. Since sampling from Boltzmann distributions of a DBM is not classically feasible, this is evidence of advantage of a non-Turing sampling oracle. We then develop a framework for training the network as a quantum Boltzmann machine (QBM) in the presence of a significant transverse field for reinforcement learning. This further improves the reinforcement learning method using DBMs.

An earlier work proposes a method for solving the Lagrangian dual of a constrained binary quadratic programming problem via quantum adiabatic evolution using an outer approximation method. This should be an efficient prescription for solving the Lagrangian dual problem in the presence of an ideally noise-free quantum adiabatic system. However, current implementations of quantum annealing systems demand methods that are efficient at handling possible sources of noise. In this paper, we consider a subgradient method for finding an optimal primal-dual pair for the Lagrangian dual of a constrained binary polynomial programming problem. We then study the quadratic stable set (QSS) problem as a case study. We see that this method applied to the QSS problem can be viewed as an instance-dependent penalty-term approach that avoids large penalty coefficients. Finally, we report our experimental results of using the D-Wave 2X quantum annealer and conclude that our approach helps this quantum processor to succeed more often in solving these problems compared to the usual penalty-term approaches.

Quantum annealing is a promising technique which leverages quantum mechanics to solve hard optimization problems. Considerable progress has been made in the development of a physical quantum annealer, motivating the study of methods to enhance the efficiency of such a solver. In this work, we present a quantum annealing approach to measure similarity among molecular structures. Implementing real-world problems on a quantum annealer is challenging due to hardware limitations such as sparse connectivity, intrinsic control error, and limited precision. In order to overcome the limited connectivity, a problem must be reformulated using minor-embedding techniques. Using a real data set, we investigate the performance of a quantum annealer in solving the molecular similarity problem. We provide experimental evidence that common practices for embedding can be replaced by new alternatives which mitigate some of the hardware limitations and enhance its performance. Common practices for embedding include minimizing either the number of qubits or the chain length, and determining the strength of ferromagnetic couplers empirically. We show that current criteria for selecting an embedding do not improve the hardware’s performance for the molecular similarity problem. Furthermore, we use a theoretical approach to determine the strength of ferromagnetic couplers. Such an approach removes the computational burden of the current empirical approaches, and also results in hardware solutions that can benefit from simple local classical improvement. Although our results are limited to the problems considered here, they can be generalized to guide future benchmarking studies.

Journal reference: Quantum Information Processing,

We propose a novel method for reducing the number of variables in quadratic unconstrained binary optimization problems, using a quantum annealer to fix the value of a large portion of the variables to values that have a high probability of being optimal. The resulting problems are usually much easier for the quantum annealer to solve, due to their being smaller and consisting of disconnected components. This approach significantly increases the success rate and number of observations of the best known energy value in samples obtained from the quantum annealer, when compared with calling the quantum annealer without using it, even when using fewer annealing cycles. Use of the method results in a considerable improvement in success metrics even for problems with high-precision couplers and biases, which are more challenging for the quantum annealer to solve. The results are further enhanced by applying the method iteratively and combining it with classical pre-processing. We present results for both Chimera graph-structured problems and embedded problems from a real-world application.

We investigate prime factorization from two perspectives: quantum annealing and computational algebraic geometry, specifically Gröbner bases. We present a novel autonomous algorithm which combines the two approaches and leads to the factorization of all bi-primes up to just over 200 000, the largest number factored to date using a quantum processor. We also explain how Gröbner bases can be used to reduce the degree of Hamiltonians.

The limited connectivity of current and next-generation quantum annealers motivates the need for efficient graph-minor embedding methods. These methods allow non-native problems to be adapted to the target annealer’s architecture. The overhead of the widely used heuristic techniques is quickly proving to be a significant bottleneck for solving real-world applications. To alleviate this difficulty, we propose a systematic and deterministic embedding method, exploiting the structures of both the input graph of the specific problem and the quantum annealer. We focus on the specific case of the Cartesian product of two complete graphs, a regular structure that occurs in many problems. We divide the embedding problem by first embedding one of the factors of the Cartesian product in a repeatable pattern. The resulting simplified problem consists of the placement and connecting together of these copies to reach a valid solution. Aside from the obvious advantage of a systematic and deterministic approach with respect to speed and efficiency, the embeddings produced are easily scaled for larger processors and show desirable properties for the number of qubits used and the chain length distribution. To conclude, we briefly address the problem of circumventing inoperable qubits by presenting possible extensions of the method.

Presented at: American Physical Society APS March Meeting 2016, Session F45: Adiabatic Quantum Computation and Quantum Annealing: Energy Landscapes, Speedup and Embedding APS March Meeting 2016, Volume 61, Number 2

In this paper, we tackle the problem of measuring similarity among graphs that represent real objects with noisy data. To account for noise, we relax the definition of similarity using the maximum weighted co-k-plex relaxation method, which allows dissimilarities among graphs up to a predetermined level. We then formulate the problem as a novel quadratic unconstrained binary optimization problem that can be solved by a quantum annealer. The context of our study is molecular similarity where the presence of noise might be due to regular errors in measuring molecular features. We develop a similarity measure and use it to predict the mutagenicity of a molecule. Our results indicate that the relaxed similarity measure, designed to accommodate the regular errors, yields a higher prediction accuracy than the measure that ignores the noise.

In this paper we present a quantum annealing algorithm for computation of homology of large point clouds. It is designed to work on resizable cloud computing platforms. The algorithm takes as input a witness complex K approximating the given point cloud. It uses quantum annealing to compute a clique cover of the 1-skeleton of K and then uses this cover to blow up K into a Mayer-Vietoris complex. Finally, it computes the homology of the Mayer-Vietoris complex in parallel. The novelty here is the use of clique covering which, compared to graph partitioning, substantially reduces the computational load assigned to each slave machine in the computing cluster. We describe two different clique covers and their quantum annealing formulation in the form of quadratic unconstrained binary optimization (QUBO).

Quantum adiabatic evolution is perceived as useful for binary quadratic programming problems that are a priori unconstrained. For constrained problems, it is a common practice to relax linear equality constraints as penalty terms in the objective function. However, there has not yet been proposed a method for efficiently dealing with inequality constraints using the quantum adiabatic approach. In this paper, we give a method for solving the Lagrangian dual of a binary quadratic programming (BQP) problem in the presence of inequality constraints and employ this procedure within a branch-and-bound framework for constrained BQP (CBQP) problems.

We solve a multi-period portfolio optimization problem using D-Wave Systems’ quantum annealer. We derive a formulation of the problem, discuss several possible integer encoding schemes, and present numerical examples that show high success rates. The formulation incorporates transaction costs (including permanent and temporary market impact), and, significantly, the solution does not require the inversion of a covariance matrix. The discrete multi-period portfolio optimization problem we solve is significantly harder than the continuous variable problem. We present insight into how results may be improved using suitable software enhancements, and why current quantum annealing technology limits the size of problem that can be successfully solved today. The formulation presented is specifically designed to be scalable, with the expectation that as quantum annealing technology improves, larger problems will be solvable using the same techniques.

A quantum annealer heuristically minimizes quadratic unconstrained binary optimization (QUBO) problems, but is limited by the physical hardware in the size and density of the problems it can handle. We have developed a meta-heuristic solver that utilizes D-Wave Systems’ quantum annealer (or any other QUBO problem optimizer) to solve larger or denser problems, by iteratively solving subproblems, while keeping the rest of the variables fixed. We present our algorithm, several variants, and the results for the optimization of standard QUBO problem instances from OR-Library of sizes 500 and 2500 as well as the Palubeckis instances of sizes 3000 to 7000. For practical use of the solver, we show the dependence of the time to best solution on the desired gap to the best known solution. In addition, we study the dependence of the gap and the time to best solution on the size of the problems solved by the underlying optimizer.

A quantum annealing solver for the renowned job-shop scheduling problem (JSP) is presented in detail. After formulating the problem as a time-indexed quadratic unconstrained binary optimization problem, several pre-processing and graph embedding strategies are employed to compile optimally parametrized families of the JSP for scheduling instances of up to six jobs and six machines on the D-Wave Systems Vesuvius processor. Problem simplifications and partitioning algorithms, including variable pruning and running strategies that consider tailored binary searches, are discussed and the results from the processor are compared against state-of-the-art global-optimum solvers.