Applications of Spin Glasses across Disciplines: From Complex Systems to Quantum Computing and Algorithm Development
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The main subjects of this dissertation are spin glass applications in other disciplines and spin glass algorithms. Spin glasses are magnetic systems with disorder and frustration, and the essential physics of spin glasses lies not in the details of their microscopic interactions but rather in the competition between quenched ferromagnetic and antiferromagnetic interactions. Concepts that arose in the study of spin glasses have led to applications in areas as diverse as computer science, biology, and finance, as well as a variety of others. In the first part of this dissertation I study the equilibrium and non-equilibrium properties of Boolean decision problems with competing interactions on scale-free networks in an external bias (a magnetic field). First, I perform finite-temperature Monte Carlo simulations in a field to test the robustness of the spin-glass phase and I show that the system has a spin-glass phase in a field, i.e., it exhibits a de Almeida–Thouless line. Then I study avalanche distributions when the system is driven by a field at zero temperature to test whether the system displays self-organized criticality. The numerical results suggest that avalanches (damage) can spread across the entire system with nonzero probability when the decay exponent of the interaction degree is less than or equal to 2, i.e., that Boolean decision problems on scale-free networks with competing interactions can be fragile when the system is not in thermal equilibrium. In the second part of this dissertation I discuss the best-case performance of quantum annealers on native spin-glass benchmarks, i.e., how chaos can affect success probabilities. We perform classical parallel-tempering Monte Carlo simulations of the archetypal benchmark problem, an Ising spin glass, on the native chip topology. Using realistic uncorrelated noise models for the D-Wave Two quantum annealer, I study the best-case resilience, or the probability that the ground-state configuration is not affected by random fields and random-bond fluctuations found on the chip. We compute the upper-bound success probabilities for different instance classes based on these simple error models, and I present strategies for developing robust and hard benchmark instances. In the third part of this dissertation I present a cluster algorithm for Ising spin glasses that works in any space dimension and speeds up thermalization by several orders of magnitude at temperatures where thermalization is typically difficult. Our isoenergetic cluster moves are based on the Houdayer cluster algorithm for two-dimensional spin glasses and lead to a speedup over conventional state-of-the-art methods that increases with the system size. We illustrate the benefits (improved thermalization and achievement of more equiprobable sampling of ground states) of the isoenergetic cluster moves in two and three space dimensions, as well as in the nonplanar Chimera topology found in the D-Wave quantum annealing machine. Finally, I study the thermodynamic properties of the two-dimensional Edwards-Anderson Ising spin-glass model on a square lattice using the tensor renormalization group method based on a higher-order singular-value decomposition. Our estimates of the partition function without a high precision data type lead to negative values at very low temperatures, thus illustrating that the method can not be applied to frustrated magnetic systems.
Zhu, Zheng (2015). Applications of Spin Glasses across Disciplines: From Complex Systems to Quantum Computing and Algorithm Development. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from