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Quantum annealing is a technique, inspired by the classical simulated annealing techniques based on temperature fluctuations, for finding the global minimum of a function by a process using quantum fluctuations. It is mainly used for optimization problems having a discrete search space with many local minima. Many challenging optimization problems of this kind play a role in scientific research and in industrial applications.

D-Wave is the first company that has commercialized quantum annealers. Their quantum annealer is a programmable artificial spin system manufactured as an integrated circuit of superconducting qubits. Qubits or quantum bits are the elementary building blocks of a quantum computer, similar to the bits in a digital computer. The latest D-Wave system, D-Wave 2X, is a 1000-qubit quantum annealer.

Although discussions about whether the D-Wave machines outperform classical optimizers are continuing, it is clear that the availability of operational hardware allows exploring the potential of quantum annealing for a range of real-world applications as of today.

This two-day workshop will provide participants the opportunity to discuss the potential of quantum annealing for pure scientific and more applied purposes. The D-Wave Exploration Day will allow a limited number of selected participants to get a feeling on how to use a quantum annealer for computation.

The talks, given by invited speakers, will cover topics including the history of quantum annealing, adiabatic quantum computation, quantum annealing algorithms for optimization problems in science and industry, and D-Wave’s quantum annealing architecture.