Optimization is very important but is usually computationally very hard. Optimization encompasses far more than the traveling salesman problem. Scheduling is another difficult optimization challenge.
Given the fact that the era of steady, large improvements in computer-processor performance appears to be coming to a close, researchers have begun to explore machines specially designed for optimization.
One promising approach is to develop optical machines for optimization.
A system called a measurement-feedback optical parametric oscillator (OPO) Ising machine can solve optimization problems that are put in the form of an Ising model—a collection of electron spins and how they influence one another.
The main task is mapping: We need to convert our optimization problem into a form that can be solved by a machine designed to solve Ising optimization problems.