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Supercomputing Frontiers Europe 2019

13th May, 2020

What Do We Know About Performance of Quantum Annealing Systems?

Dr. Catherine McGeoch will shed light on this topic at the fifth Virtual ICM Seminar in Computer and Computational Science.

Quantum annealing (QA) falls within the Adiabatic Quantum Computing paradigm, which is a different approach to quantum computing than the more familiar quantum gate model (GM). The error models for open-system QA vs. GM are quite distinct, which means that different approaches to performance evaluation are needed. The first part of the talk will present a brief introduction to quantum annealing and how errors are modeled.

Quantum computing is a highly multidisciplinary field, and each sub-discipline has its own ideas about what would constitute a demonstration of superior quantum performance. The second part of the talk will review some prominent proposals and argue that they are largely incompatible, in the sense that a demonstration of superior quantum performance in one discipline will not satisfy researchers in other disciplines. Dr. McGeoch will give an update on what is known about the performance of quantum annealing processors manufactured by D-Wave Systems.

Catherine McGeoch received her Ph.D. from Carnegie Mellon University in 1986 and spent almost 30 years on the faculty at Amherst College. Her research interests center around the development of methodologies for empirical performance evaluation of algorithms and heuristics. She co-founded the DIMACS Challenge series and the ALENEX meetings on Algorithm Engineering and Experiments, and is past editor-in-chief of the ACM Journal on Experimental Algorithmics. In 2014 she joined D-Wave Systems, where she now works on methods for assessing performance of quantum annealing processors. She is the author of two books: “A Guide to Experimental Algorithmics” and “Adiabatic Quantum Computing and Quantum Annealing: Theory and Practice”

Date and time: Thursday, May 14, 2020 at 4:00 PM CEST

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Footage of all  previous lectures are can be found here:

  • Simon Mutch, “HPC Simulations of the early Universe”
  • Michael Bussman, “The discovery machines – how supercomputers will shape the
    future of data-driven science”
  • Erol Gelenbe, “A Dynamic Self-Aware Approach to Cybersecurity”
  • Scott Aaronson, “Quantum Computational Supremacy and Its Applications”