Aramon, Maliheh; Gili Rosenberg; Elisabetta Valiante; Toshiyuki Miyazawa; Hirotaka Tamira and Helmut G. Katzgraber

The Fujitsu Digital Annealer is designed to solve fully connected quadratic unconstrained binary optimization (QUBO) problems. It is implemented on application-specific CMOS hardware and currently solves problems of up to 1,024 variables. The Digital Annealer's algorithm is currently based on simulated annealing; however, it differs from it in its utilization of an efficient parallel-trial scheme and a dynamic escape mechanism. In addition, the Digital Annealer exploits the massive parallelization that custom application-specific CMOS hardware allows. We compare the performance of the Digital Annealer to simulated annealing and parallel tempering with isoenergetic cluster moves on two-dimensional and fully connected spin-glass problems with bimodal and Gaussian couplings. These represent the respective limits of sparse vs. dense problems, as well as high-degeneracy vs. low-degeneracy problems. Our results show that the Digital Annealer currently exhibits a time-to-solution speedup of roughly two orders of magnitude for fully connected spin-glass problems with bimodal or Gaussian couplings, over the single-core implementations of simulated annealing and parallel tempering Monte Carlo used in this study. The Digital Annealer does not appear to exhibit a speedup for sparse two-dimensional spin-glass problems, which we explain on theoretical grounds. We also benchmarked an early implementation of the Parallel Tempering Digital Annealer. Our results suggest an improved scaling over the other algorithms for fully connected problems of average difficulty with bimodal disorder. The next generation of the Digital Annealer is expected to be able to solve fully connected problems up to 8,192 variables in size. This would enable the study of fundamental physics problems and industrial applications that were previously inaccessible using standard computing hardware or special-purpose quantum annealing machines.