Solving combinatorial optimization problems is becoming increasingly important in modern society, where the analysis and optimization of unprecedentedly complex systems are required. Many such problems can be mapped onto the ground-state-search problem of the Ising Hamiltonian, and simulating the Ising spins with physical systems is now emerging as a promising approach for tackling such problems. Here, we report a large-scale network of artificial spins based on degenerate optical parametric oscillators (DOPOs), paving the way towards a photonic Ising machine capable of solving difficult combinatorial optimization problems. We generate >10,000 time-division-multiplexed DOPOs using dual-pump four-wave mixing in a highly nonlinear fibre placed in a cavity. Using those DOPOs, a one-dimensional Ising model is simulated by introducing nearest-neighbour optical coupling. We observe the formation of spin domains and find that the domain size diverges near the DOPO threshold, which suggests that the DOPO network can simulate the behaviour of low-temperature Ising spins.
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