Computational complexity continuum within Ising formulation of NP problems

Kirill P. Kalinin, Natalia G. Berloff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


A promising approach to achieve computational supremacy over the classical von Neumann architecture explores classical and quantum hardware as Ising machines. The minimisation of the Ising Hamiltonian is known to be NP-hard problem yet not all problem instances are equivalently hard to optimise. Given that the operational principles of Ising machines are suited to the structure of some problems but not others, we propose to identify computationally simple instances with an ‘optimisation simplicity criterion’. Neuromorphic architectures based on optical, photonic, and electronic systems can naturally operate to optimise instances satisfying this criterion, which are therefore often chosen to illustrate the computational advantages of new Ising machines. As an example, we show that the Ising model on the Möbius ladder graph is ‘easy’ for Ising machines. By rewiring the Möbius ladder graph to random 3-regular graphs, we probe an intermediate computational complexity between P and NP-hard classes with several numerical methods. Significant fractions of polynomially simple instances are further found for a wide range of small size models from spin glasses to maximum cut problems. A compelling approach for distinguishing easy and hard instances within the same NP-hard class of problems can be a starting point in developing a standardised procedure for the performance evaluation of emerging physical simulators and physics-inspired algorithms.

Original languageEnglish
Article number20
JournalCommunications Physics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022


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