Computational lasing: solving hard problems with laser systems
In recent years there have been extensive efforts to solve hard computational problems by realizing physical systems that can simulate specific problems. Here we present a new method in which a modified degenerate cavity (MDC) is used to solve hard computational tasks. The MDC possesses a huge number of degrees of freedom (300,000 modes in our system) that can be coupled and controlled. Specifically, the MDC allows direct access to both the x-space and k-space components of the lasing mode. Placing constraints on these components can be mapped to different computational minimization problems. Due to mode competition, the laser selects the mode with minimal loss and finds an optimal solution. Details of our experimental system will be presented, as well as recent results demonstrating the ability to use the MDC for simulating XY spin systems and finding their ground state, for phase retrieval, for imaging through scattering medium and more.