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Energy minimization of Ising spin-glasses has played a central role in statistical and solid-state physics, facilitating studies of phase transitions and magnetism. Recent proposals suggest using Ising spin-glasses for non-traditional computing as a way to harness the nature's ability to find min-energy configurations, and to take advantage of quantum tunneling to boost combinatorial optimization. Laboratory demonstrations have been unconvincing so far and lack a non-quantum baseline for definitive comparisons. In this paper, the authors design and evaluate new computational techniques to simulate natural energy minimization in spin glasses and explore their application to study design alternatives in quantum adiabatic computers.
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