Toshiba's breakthrough algorithm realizes world's fastest, largest-scale combinatorial optimization | 4/10/2019 | Staff
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Toshiba Corporation has realized a major breakthrough in combinatorial optimization—the selection of the best solutions from among an enormous number of combinatorial patterns—with the development of an algorithm that delivers the world's fastest and largest-scale performance, and an approximately 10-fold improvement over current methods. Toshiba's new method can be applied to such daunting but essential tasks as identifying efficient delivery routes, determining the most effective molecular structures to investigate in new drug development, and building portfolios of profitable financial products.

The newly developed technique, the Simulated Bifurcation Algorithm, quickly obtains highly accurate approximate solutions (good solutions) for complex large-scale combinatorial optimization problems—problems that have resisted solution for a long time, and that are very difficult to solve using conventional techniques. Potentially even more important, the algorithm also realizes excellent scalability at a low cost using current computers, which could revolutionize current optimization processes.

Toshiba - Simulated - Bifurcation - Algorithm - Service

Toshiba will use the Simulated Bifurcation Algorithm to build a service platform able to quickly solve diverse social and business problems, aiming for commercialization in 2019.

Details of the new technology are published in the online academic journal Science Advances.

Problems - Number - Options - Combinations - Logistics

Many problems can only be solved by sifting through a vast number of options to find the best combinations. These include realizing efficient logistics (the traveling salesman problem in math), directing traffic to ease congestion, applying molecular design to drug development, and optimizing financial portfolios. Today, realizing such combinatorial optimization requires an enormous amount of computation, and using current computers to find solutions remains difficult.

There are growing expectations that next-generation computing devices, such as quantum computers, will lead the way to better solutions, and current research aims to develop computers specially designed for combinatorial optimization through the use of superconducting circuits, lasers, and semiconductor-based digital computers. Despite these efforts, it remains a challenge to increase the solvable-problem size and to reduce...
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