Since Quantum Annealing is extremely powerful for optimization it is limited in scope.

However, when a universal Quantum Computer based on gates arrives, it will have a wider scope including optimization as well.

In a such scenario will the annealing approach be obsolete?


I'm not sure that anybody really knows the answer to this. Ultimately, this comes down to error correction. Universal quantum computers will have built-in error correction (and, indeed, fault-tolerance) that allows them to perform arbitrarily large computations in an essentially noise-free way.

To my knowledge (although I'm not an expert), while there has been some work towards error correction in the quantum annealing scenario (e.g. here), there's no complete fault-tolerant theory. Without it, quantum annealing is likely to be limited to finite sized computations.

So, does a fault-tolerant theory of quantum annealing exist, and can it be implemented? That's crystal ball gazing. My personal suspicion is that fault-tolerant theories exist, but they may well require connectivity of the qubits that is impractical.


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