Comparative study of the performance of quantum annealing and simulated annealing

Hidetoshi Nishimori, Junichi Tsuda, Sergey Knysh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


Relations of simulated annealing and quantum annealing are studied by a mapping from the transition matrix of classical Markovian dynamics of the Ising model to a quantum Hamiltonian and vice versa. It is shown that these two operators, the transition matrix and the Hamiltonian, share the eigenvalue spectrum. Thus, if simulated annealing with slow temperature change does not encounter a difficulty caused by an exponentially long relaxation time at a first-order phase transition, the same is true for the corresponding process of quantum annealing in the adiabatic limit. One of the important differences between the classical-to-quantum mapping and the converse quantum-to-classical mapping is that the Markovian dynamics of a short-range Ising model is mapped to a short-range quantum system, but the converse mapping from a short-range quantum system to a classical one results in long-range interactions. This leads to a difference in efficiencies that simulated annealing can be efficiently simulated by quantum annealing but the converse is not necessarily true. We conclude that quantum annealing is easier to implement and is more flexible than simulated annealing. We also point out that the present mapping can be extended to accommodate explicit time dependence of temperature, which is used to justify the quantum-mechanical analysis of simulated annealing by Somma, Batista, and Ortiz. Additionally, an alternative method to solve the nonequilibrium dynamics of the one-dimensional Ising model is provided through the classical-to-quantum mapping.

Original languageEnglish
Article number012104
JournalPhysical Review E - Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2015 Jan 6
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
  • Statistics and Probability
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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