Customer X: Hi, D-wave? So, I hear that you have this computer that can be used to solve computationally hard problems. Oh, yes, sorry, should have said a quantum computer, my bad. Well, you know we’ve got this hard computational problem, [Editor: problem description deleted to protect identity of involved company.] So what do you think, can you solve this problem for me? Great! Let me put you in contact with my technical guy. Yes, I’ll wire the money to your account today.
Customer X: Hi D-Wave, thanks for all your help with getting us set up to use your machine to solve these hard computational problems. We ran the adiabatic algorithm a few times, but it doesn’t seem to be working. Do you have any suggestions? Oh, try a different adiabatic annealing schedule, okay, I’ll pass this on to my technical guy. Thanks for your help. Is it still raining in Vancouver?
A day later.
Customer X: So we tried a new annealing schedule, but it didn’t seem to help. Well it helped on a few of our instances, but not all of them. Any suggestions? Okay I can hold. [Celine Dion music ensues for twenty minutes.] Right. Your tech guys suggest this particular annealing schedule. Great, we’ll try that! How’s the rain?
An hour later
Customer X: Well okay, so we tried that one and again it got a few more answers correct, but now it doesn’t work on the other instances. Can you tell me where that annealing schedule came from? Oh, I understand company secret. Okay can you send me another annealing schedule? Rain again? Sheesh, Noah would have loved Vancouver.
Days later, many annealing strategies shown not to work.
Customer X: So, um, I guess I should have asked this when we started, but what understanding do you have about the speed-ups guaranteed by your machine? I mean, certainly you have at least some evidence that the machine will be able to solve the instances that matter, right? Or at least tell me if my instances will be sped up on your computer? Hello? Hello?
[This blog post brought to you by the letter R and the quote “For now the adiabatic quantum optimizers have the upper hand.”]