A poor man's coherent Ising machine: Solving optimization problems with opto-electronic oscillators subjected to self-feedback

Research output: Unpublished contribution to conferencePoster


We present a new concept for coherent Ising machines (CIMs) with the goal of solving optimization problems with a setup that is small in size and cheap to fabricate. Similar to quantum annealing devices, CIMs constitute an efficient way to solve computationally hard optimization problems by performing ground state searches of Ising models. CIMs based on degenerate optical parametric oscillators (DOPOs) have demonstrated large potential to outperform digital computers and quantum annealing devices, which can have a significant impact on important areas such as pharmaceutics, machine learning, finance and logistic. However, DOPO-based CIMs require large phase-locked ring cavities and nonlinear optical components, which results in large and expensive setups and makes it challenging to build and operate these machines.
In this current work, we present a new concept for CIMs that uses opto-electronic oscillators subjected to self-feedback to implement Ising models of arbitrary size. We show that this original approach leads to a compact design that can be built from few off-the-shelf photonic components. Contrary to DOPO-based CIMs, the artificial spins are generated in a feedback induced bifurcation and encoded in the intensity of coherent states. This removes the necessity for nonlinear optical processes or large external cavities and offers significant advantages regarding stability, size and cost. We demonstrate that our setup can solve MAXCUT problems on different regular and frustrated graphs and find that performance is similar or better than previous results reported for DOPO-based machines.
CIMs based on opto-electronic feedback systems thus can significantly reduce the cost and effort for building CIMs, which can give access to CIMs to a broader community. Because of the small footprint and type of optical components needed, it also has the potential to be implemented with photonic integrated circuits, which can lead to further miniaturization of CIMs.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusUnpublished - 19 Mar 2019
EventCoherent Network Computing 2019 - NTT Basic Research Laboratories, Atsugi, Japan
Duration: 18 Mar 201920 Mar 2019


ConferenceCoherent Network Computing 2019
Abbreviated titleCNC2019
Internet address


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