Geometric landscape annealing as an optimization principle underlying the coherent Ising machine

Atsushi Yamamura, Hideo Mabuchi, Surya Ganguli
Condensed Matter, Disordered Systems and Neural Networks, Disordered Systems and Neural Networks (cond-mat.dis-nn), Optics (physics.optics)
2023-09-14 16:00:00
Given the fundamental importance of combinatorial optimization across many diverse application domains, there has been widespread interest in the development of unconventional physical computing architectures that can deliver better solutions with lower resource costs. These architectures embed discrete optimization problems into the annealed, analog evolution of nonlinear dynamical systems. However, a theoretical understanding of their performance remains elusive, unlike the cases of simulated or quantum annealing. We develop such understanding for the coherent Ising machine (CIM), a network of optical parametric oscillators that can be applied to any quadratic unconstrained binary optimization problem. Here we focus on how the CIM finds low-energy solutions of the Sherrington-Kirkpatrick spin glass. As the laser gain is annealed, the CIM interpolates between gradient descent on the soft-spin energy landscape, to optimization on coupled binary spins. By exploiting spin-glass theory, we develop a detailed understanding of the evolving geometry of the high-dimensional CIM energy landscape as the laser gain increases, finding several phase transitions, from flat, to rough, to rigid. Additionally, we develop a cavity method that provides a precise geometric interpretation of supersymmetry breaking in terms of the response of a rough landscape to specific perturbations. We confirm our theory with numerical experiments, and find detailed information about critical points of the landscape. Our extensive analysis of phase transitions provides theoretically motivated optimal annealing schedules that can reliably find near-ground states. This analysis reveals geometric landscape annealing as a powerful optimization principle and suggests many further avenues for exploring other optimization problems, as well as other types of annealed dynamics, including chaotic, oscillatory or quantum dynamics.
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