Nature Communications

A CMOS-compatible oscillation-based VO2 Ising machine solver

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Phase-encoded oscillating neural networks offer compelling advantages over CMOS-based technology for tackling complex optimization problems, with promising potential for ultralow power consumption and exceptionally rapid computational performance. In this work, we investigate the ability of these networks to solve optimization problems belonging to the nondeterministic polynomial time complexity class using nanoscale vanadium-dioxide-based (VO2-based) oscillators integrated onto a Silicon platform. Specifically, we demonstrate how the dynamic behavior of coupled VO2 devices can effectively solve combinatorial optimization problems, including Graph Coloring, Max-cut, and Max-3SAT problems. The electrical mappings of these problems are derived from the equivalent Ising Hamiltonian formulation to design circuits with up to nine crossbar VO2 oscillators. Using sub-harmonic injection locking techniques, we binarize the solution space provided by the oscillators and demonstrate that graphs with high connection density (η > 0.4) converge more easily towards the optimal solution due to the small spectral radius of the problem’s equivalent adjacency matrix. Our findings indicate that these systems achieve stability within 25 oscillation cycles and exhibit power efficiency and potential for scaling that surpasses available commercial options and other technologies under study. These results pave the way for accelerated parallel computing enabled by large-scale networks of interconnected oscillators.