Necessary Adiabatic Run Times in Quantum Optimization

Research paper by Lucas T. Brady, Wim van Dam

Indexed on: 08 Nov '16Published on: 08 Nov '16Published in: arXiv - Quantum Physics


Quantum annealing is guaranteed to find the ground state of optimization problems in the adiabatic limit. Recent work [Phys. Rev. X 6, 031010 (2016)] has found that for some barrier tunneling problems, quantum annealing can be run much faster than is adiabatically required. Specifically, an $n$-qubit optimization problem was presented for which a non-adiabatic, or diabatic, annealing algorithm requires only constant runtime, while an adiabatic annealing algorithm requires a runtime polynomial in $n$. Here we show that this non-adiabatic speed-up is a direct result of a specific symmetry in the studied problems. In the more general case, no such non-adiabatic speed-up occurs. We furthermore show why the special case achieves this speed-up compared to the general case. We conclude with the observation that the adiabatic annealing algorithm has a necessary and sufficient runtime that is quadratically better than the standard quantum adiabatic condition suggests.