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An Ising model is a model which expresses properties of magnetic materials, such as magnets, in terms of statistical mechanics. Ising models are comprised of two spins (lattice points), and can be oriented either up or down. The adjacent spin orientation shifts depending on the interactions between spins and external force provided by the magnetic field. In the end, the spins converge (stabilize) when the Ising model's energy is at its minimum state.
In recent years, new computing technologies that utilize the characteristics of the Ising model have gathered attention. For example, in 2011, D-Wave Systems Inc. was able to convert a combinatorial optimization problem into the Ising model, and has announced that it made a Quantum computer that solves problems using quantum annealing. In 2015, Hitachi was able to artificially reproduce the Ising model's behavior upon a semiconductor by using technology known as CMOS annealing, and has had success in efficiently solving combinatorial optimization problems.