Friday, April 7, 2017

Quantum optimization

Classical annealing has been a method of optimization in many areas, for ever. Recently, quantum annealing, based on quantum tunneling, was proposed as an improved process. Challenges remain (1), however, as qbits are immensely limited to make anything practical. The most profitable path to knowledge, at the intersection of quantum mechanics and optimization, may be breaking open. Flux quantization, as the authors argue, may allow us to tackle complex optimization problems.


It is clear that humans have been stagnant in the advancement of mathematics. At the intersection of theoretical physics and mathematics, there is a beautiful avenue to knowledge, something that has been less travelled in. There, determinism takes a back seat and probabilistic speculation dominates. Those who want interplanetary travel are simply leaving the movie theater before the show is over and it is possible that the few brain cells left to humanity could, indeed, take a quantum leap.


Humans wanted to always optimize as it has been ingrained in their structure from the moment they started to explore. They wanted to minimize distances and maximize the probability of a killing or analogously, minimize the probability of being killed. Ingrained in their quantum limited brain is the concept of optimization and now we could possibly take it further. In this context, it is important to remain humble as many before us have thought they indeed optimized, only to realize that there were many attributes beyond the equation that was used.


Flux quantization could provide a path forward to optimization but it is important to keep in mind that we have been here many times before.




(1) http://advances.sciencemag.org/content/3/4/e1602273