USRA quantum computing request for proposals

The Universities Space Research Association (USRA) is pleased to invite proposals for Cycle 2 of the Quantum Artificial Intelligence Laboratory Research Opportunity, which will allocate computer time for research projects to be run on the D-Wave 2X system at NASA Ames Research Center (ARC) for the time period October 2015 through September 2016.

The total allocated computer time for the research opportunity represents approximately 20% of the total available runtime during the period. Successful projects will be allowed to remotely access the quantum computer, and to run a number of jobs up to a maximum allocated runtime usage.

The Call is open to all qualified researchers affiliated to accredited universities, not-for-profit organizations, and industry. Exceptions to researchers unaffiliated with universities might be considered in case of proposals of outstanding quality and the desire to publish the results of the investigation. The computer time will be provided free of charge. No financial support is offered for the completion of the project.

Proposals are sought for research on artificial intelligence algorithms and advanced programming (mapping, decomposition, embedding) techniques for quantum annealing, with the objective to advance the state-of-the-art in quantum computing and its application to artificial intelligence.

The D-Wave 2X machine currently features the “Washington” chip. High-level descriptions of the computer and its programming can be found on D-Wave website http://www.dwavesys.com/resources/tutorials. The specific machine installed at ARC currently has 1,097 qubits in the working graph, and this is planned to be upgraded in the future as new processors become available.

A number of published research papers documenting the use of D-Wave processors or discussing its applications can be found at http://www.usra.edu/quantum/bibliography.

Applications received by October 31, 2015 will be given full consideration. The call for proposals will remain open after this date, and applications received after this date will also be considered, in USRA’s sole discretion.

For detailed information and application instructions, check out this link.

Interesting progress on improving quantum annealing

Degeneracy, degree, and heavy tails in quantum annealing

Both simulated quantum annealing and physical quantum annealing have shown the emergence of “heavy tails” in their performance as optimizers: The total time needed to solve a set of random input instances is dominated by a small number of very hard instances. Classical simulated annealing, in contrast, does not show such heavy tails. Here we explore the origin of these heavy tails, which appear for inputs with high local degeneracy—large isoenergetic clusters of states in Hamming space. This category includes the low-precision Chimera-structured problems studied in recent benchmarking work comparing the D-Wave Two quantum annealing processor with simulated annealing. On similar inputs designed to suppress local degeneracy, performance of a quantum annealing processor on hard instances improves by orders of magnitude at the 512-qubit scale, while classical performance remains relatively unchanged. Simulations indicate that perturbative crossings are the primary factor contributing to these heavy tails, while sensitivity to Hamiltonian misspecification error plays a less significant role in this particular setting.

Call for Proposals – Computer Time on D-Wave Quantum Computer

Recently the Universities Space Research Association (USRA) announced that they were accepting proposals for computer time on the D-Wave system at the Quantum Artificial Intelligence Lab located at NASA Ames Research Center. Details are as follows, and you can find out more (and download the RFP) at USRA’s website at http://www.usra.edu/quantum/rfp/.  We encourage researchers to take advantage of this opportunity.

The Universities Space Research Association (USRA) is pleased to invite proposals for Cycle 1 of the Quantum Artificial Intelligence Laboratory Research Opportunity, which will allocate computer time for research projects to be run on the D-Wave System at NASA Ames Research Center (ARC) for the time period November 2014 through September 2015.

The total allocated computer time for the Cycle 1 research opportunity represents approximately 20% of the total available runtime during the period. Successful projects will be allowed to remotely access the quantum computer, and to run a number of jobs up to a maximum allocated runtime usage.

The Call is open to all qualified researchers affiliated to accredited universities and other research organizations. Exceptions to researchers unaffiliated with universities might be considered in case of proposals of outstanding quality and the desire to publish the results of the investigation. The computer time will be provided free of charge. No financial support is offered for the completion of the project.

Proposals are sought for research on artificial intelligence algorithms and advanced programming (mapping, decomposition, embedding) techniques for quantum annealing, with the objective to advance the state-of-the-art in quantum computing and its application to artificial intelligence.

First look at some results from Washington chips

Colin Williams recently presented some new results in the UK. Here you can see some advance looks at the first results on up to 933 qubits. These are very early days for the Washington generation. Things will get a lot better on this one before it’s released (Rainier and Vesuvius both took 7 generations of iteration before they stabilized). But some good results on the first few prototypes.

One of the interesting things we’re playing with now is the following idea (starts at around 22:30 of the presentation linked to above). Imagine instead of measuring the time to find the ground state of a problem with some probability, instead measure the difference between the ground state energy and the median energy of samples returned, as a function of time and problem size. If we do this what we find is that the median distance from the ground state scales like \sqrt{|E|+N} where N is the number of qubits, and |E| is the number of couplers in the instance (proportional to N for the current generation). More important, the scaling with time flattens out and becomes nearly constant. This is consistent with the main error mechanism being mis-specification of problem parameters in the Hamiltonian (what we call ICE or Intrinsic Control Errors).

In other words, the first sample from the processor (ie constant time), with high probability, will return a sample no further than O(\sqrt{N}) from the ground state. That’s pretty cool.

Two interesting papers from the Ames crew

Hi everyone! Sorry for being silent for a while. Working. :-)

Two interesting papers appeared on the arxiv this week, both from people at Ames working on their D-Wave Two.

First: A Quantum Annealing Approach for Fault Detection and Diagnosis of Graph-Based Systems

Second: Quantum Optimization of Fully-Connected Spin Glasses

Enjoy!