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Google and NASA look to quantum computing for artificial intelligence

Vesuvius rumbles all the way to Washington
Thu Sep 04 2014, 16:26
Quantum Computing could revolutionise the way we interact with machines

GOOGLE AND NASA have launched a joint initiative in quantum computing.

The team, led by John Martinis of University of California, Santa Barbara is a collaboration between Google, NASA's Ames Space Research Centre in Silicon Valley, and the Universities Space Research Asssociation (USRA).

The study will focus on the applications of quantum optimisation in its relationship to artificial intelligence (AI).

The link was announced by Harmnut Neven, director of engineering, on the team's Google+ page. He said, "With an integrated hardware group the Quantum AI team will now be able to implement and test new designs for quantum optimization and inference processors based on recent theoretical insights as well as our learnings from the D-Wave quantum annealing architecture."

The Vesuvius D-Wave supercomputer which is co-owned by NASA Ames and Google, will be upgraded to a 1,000 qubit Washington processor to aid the research, doubling its capacity.

Quantum computing remains in its infancy, as scientists continue to explore how to manipulate the technology into a consistently stable state within an environment that can be recreated outside a laboratory.

However, recent tests by the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Zurich) have suggested that the Vesuvius had no tangible benefits over silicon processors.

The abstract of the paper said, "Using random spin glass instances as a benchmark, we find no evidence of quantum speedup when the entire data set is considered, and obtain inconclusive results when comparing subsets of instances on an instance-by-instance basis."

The Vesuvius counts the National Security Agency (NSA) among its clients, which can only serve to fuel paranoid speculation as to their uses for it. µ


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