Optimizing adiabatic quantum program compilation using a graph-theoretic framework

  • Timothy D. Goodrich
  • Blair D. Sullivan
  • Travis S. Humble


Adiabatic quantum computing has evolved in recent years from a theoretical field into an immensely practical area, a change partially sparked by D-Wave System’s quantum annealing hardware. These multimillion-dollar quantum annealers offer the potential to solve optimization problems millions of times faster than classical heuristics, prompting researchers at Google, NASA and Lockheed Martin to study how these computers can be applied to complex real-world problems such as NASA rover missions. Unfortunately, compiling (embedding) an optimization problem into the annealing hardware is itself a difficult optimization problem and a major bottleneck currently preventing widespread adoption. Additionally, while finding a single embedding is difficult, no generalized method is known for tuning embeddings to use minimal hardware resources. To address these barriers, we introduce a graph-theoretic framework for developing structured embedding algorithms. Using this framework, we introduce a biclique virtual hardware layer to provide a simplified interface to the physical hardware. Additionally, we exploit bipartite structure in quantum programs using odd cycle transversal (OCT) decompositions. By coupling an OCT-based embedding algorithm with new, generalized reduction methods, we develop a new baseline for embedding a wide range of optimization problems into fault-free D-Wave annealing hardware. To encourage the reuse and extension of these techniques, we provide an implementation of the framework and embedding algorithms.



The authors would like to thank Steve Reinhardt from D-Wave Systems Inc. and the anonymous reviewers for feedback. This work is supported in part by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation’s Data-Driven Discovery Initiative through Grant GBMF4560 to Blair D. Sullivan, a National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowship and a fellowship by the National Space Grant College and Fellowship Program and the NC Space Grant Consortium to Timothy D. Goodrich. This manuscript has been authored by UT-Battelle, LLC, under Contract No. DE-AC0500OR22725 with the U.S. Department of Energy. The United States Government retains and the publisher, by accepting the article for publication, acknowledges that the United States Government retains a non-exclusive, paid-up, irrevocable, world-wide license to publish or reproduce the published form of this manuscript, or allow others to do so, for the United States Government purposes. The Department of Energy will provide public access to these results of federally sponsored research in accordance with the DOE Public Access Plan (


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Timothy D. Goodrich
    • 1
  • Blair D. Sullivan
    • 1
  • Travis S. Humble
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Computer ScienceNorth Carolina State UniversityRaleighUSA
  2. 2.Quantum Computing InstituteOak Ridge National LaboratoryOak RidgeUSA

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