The popularly acclaimed collaborative project knows as Quantum Artificial Intelligence Lab is getting some powerful new hardware. A joint project between Google, NASA, and the Universities Space Research Association, the Quantum AI Lab today announced a multiyear agreement to install a D-Wave 2X, a state-of-the-art quantum processor released earlier this year. With over 1,000 qubits, the machine is the most powerful computer of its kind, and will be put to work tackling difficult optimization problems for both Google and NASA.
A brief history of the project
Quantum Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (QuAIL)
The NASA facility hosts the Quantum Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, a collaborative effort among NASA, Google, and Universities Space Research Association (USRA) to explore the potential for quantum computers to tackle optimization problems that are difficult or impossible for traditional supercomputers to handle. The laboratory houses a 512-qubit D-Wave Two™ quantum computer, installed at the NAS facility on the NASA Ames campus. The facility has been extensively retrofitted to provide isolation from noise and vibration, as well as the infrastructure required to cool the system to its near-absolute-zero operating temperature. The installation team recently completed a series of rigorous calibration and acceptance tests, and became operational in September 17, 2013
NASA researchers will use this system to investigate areas where quantum algorithms might someday dramatically improve the agency’s ability to solve difficult optimization problems in aeronautics, Earth and space sciences, and space exploration. Applications relevant to NASA include machine learning, pattern recognition, mission planning and scheduling, distributed navigation and coordination, and system diagnostics and anomaly detection. With the success of Quantum computing, we think that extreme technologies like mind controlling cars, can be more be seen often and other near unbelievable projects being embark upon by tech giants like Apples Fuel Cell, Facebook Visual Reality, Google Glass and many others
WHAT IS QUANTUM COMPUTING?
Quantum computing is based on quantum bits or “qubits”. Unlike traditional computers, in which bits must have a value of either zero or one, a “qubit” can represent a zero, a one, or both values simultaneously. Representing information in qubits allows the information to be processed in ways that have no equivalent in classical computing, taking advantage of phenomena such as quantum tunneling and quantum entanglement. As such, quantum computers may theoretically be able to solve certain problems in a few days that would take millions of years on a classical computer.
The fragility of the qubits also means the computer’s processor can only operate at extremely cold temperatures. The 2X’s standard operating temperature is less than 15 millikelvin, a temperature far colder than outer space. “Working with the D-Wave processors has helped us develop and fine-tune models of quantum annealing,” Google’s Hartmut Neven, head of the Quantum Artificial Intelligence Lab, said in a statement. “We look forward to the continued advancements coming from each generation of D-Wave systems.” But while the lab moves to test the new machine’s capabilities, there are still real questions about whether D-Wave’s approach to quantum computing will yield results. Benchmarking tests on D-Wave’s previous models have failed to find evidence of the so-called “quantum speedup” — the exponential increase in computing power that makes quantum computing so appealing. D-Wave has proposed alternate benchmarks that show something closer to a speedup, but for most experts, the debate is still unsettled. Are we right to say that Near Field Communication (NFC) will be easy to come by on our computers so that we can continue to share with our connected computers more faster and more deeper?
At the same time, D-Wave’s computers aren’t Google’s only play in the quantum computing space. It is also good note that Google, is currently working hard to reverse nature on the project called Calico, the project looks weird, but it is Google, they have the resources in times of capital and human, so who is saying is not possible? What is yet to be talked about is, after the successful implementation of this Quatum computing project, how it will affect one of the biggest smartphone platform the Android in times of their future Os releases marshmallow and other upcoming Android upgrades. The company’s biggest rival in the quantum computing space is a team of scientists from UC Santa Barbara team that was hired by Google in 2014. Where D-Wave chains together hundreds of qubits with higher error rates, the UC Santa Barbara group is working with smaller numbers of more reliable qubits, and struggling to maintain low error rates at the scale of the D-Wave machine. It remains to be seen which model has the better shot.