Google claims its quantum computer works

11 Dec 2015


A controversial machine marketed as "the world's first commercial quantum computer" that Google and NASA bought in 2013 had comprehensively beaten conventional computer in a series of tests, according to researchers at Google.

According to Google, it had proof that the machine really could use quantum physics to work through a type of math that was crucial to artificial intelligence much faster than a conventional computer.

Governments and leading computing companies such as Microsoft, IBM, and Google had been trying to develop so called quantum computers as using the weirdness of quantum mechanics to represent data could unlock immense data-crunching powers.

"It is a truly disruptive technology that could change how we do everything," said Deepak Biswas, director of exploration technology at NASA's Ames Research Centre in California, PTI reported.

For computing giants, quantum computers could make their artificial-intelligence software much more powerful and unlock scientific leaps in areas like materials science, according to MIT Technology Review.

NASA is looking to the computer to help schedule rocket launches and simulate future missions and spacecraft.

The computer is installed at NASA's Ames Research Centre and operates on data with the use of a superconducting chip called a quantum annealer.

Google claimed the D-Wave 2X was 100 million times faster than any of today's machines and consequently the quantum computer could theoretically complete calculations within seconds for a problem that might take a digital computer 10,000 years to calculate.

This was particularly important, in the context of the difficult tasks that today's computers are called upon to perform and humongous amount of data they are called upon to process.

According to experts, the D-Wave 2X represented not only a quantum leap for computing, but also for the field of artificial intelligence. In fact, Google referred to its work being carried out at NASA's Ames Research Center as ''quantum artificial intelligence.'' That was because the learning problems that today were too hard or too complex for computers could be solved almost instantaneously in the future.

One field of application that Google's quantum computer would be particularly suited to is a class of AI problems generally referred to as optimization problems. With the computer  NASA would be able to optimise the flight trajectories of interstellar space missions, FedEx could optimise delivery fleet of trucks and planes, an airport will be able to optimise its air traffic control grid, and the military would be able to crack any encryption code.

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