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First-order quantum phase transition in adiabatic quantum computation
We investigate the connection between local minima in the problem Hamiltonian and first-order quantum phase transitions during adiabatic quantum computation. We demonstrate how some properties of the local minima can lead to an extremely small gap that is exponentially sensitive to the Hamiltonian parameters. Using perturbation expansion, we derive an analytical formula that cannot only predict the behavior of the gap, but also provide insight on how to controllably vary the gap size by changing the parameters. We show agreement with numerical calculations for a weighted maximum independent set problem instance.