First-Order Transitions and the Performance of Quantum Algorithms in Random Optimization Problems


We present a study of the phase diagram of a random optimization problem in the presence of quantum fluctuations. Our main result is the characterization of the nature of the phase transition, which we find to be a first-order quantum phase transition. We provide evidence that the gap vanishes exponentially with the system size at the transition. This indicates that the quantum adiabatic algorithm requires a time growing exponentially with system size to find the ground state of this problem.

Phys. Rev. Lett.