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An optical system for solving combinatorial optimization problems has been made available for use online, say its creators in Japan. Called the Quantum Neural Network (QNN), the system has been developed by Nippon Telegraph and Telephone (NTT), Japan’s National Institute of Informatics, and the University of Tokyo.

Combinatorial optimization problems involve evaluating large numbers of possible solutions to a problem and identifying the best one. A familiar example is the "travelling salesman problem" whereby a person wishes to visit several different destinations by the shortest possible route. Such problems can be found in a wide range of human endeavour from scheduling medical procedures in a hospital to maximizing the performance of a complex system like an aircraft.

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Category: Science