Artificial intelligence might seem to be a concept ripped from the pages of science fiction, but it could become a reality if Google and NASA have their way. Google has announced a partnership with NASA to launch a lab that will use quantum computing in order to tackle problems with artificial intelligence.
Although you can now buy your own quantum computer, quantum computing is still a relatively new concept and is also a highly complicated one. Unlike traditional computers that complete calculations with bits (which can have a value of zero or one), quantum computers use quibits. Quibits are not binary — they can be zero, one or anything in between. Quibits can even be several values at the same time. This gives quantum computers the ability to calculate probability because they can figure out many different calculations at once, and makes quantum computing significantly many times faster than traditional computing. For example, a traditional computer may take years to complete a specifically difficult calculation. A quantum computer would only take seconds.
The new Google/NASA lab will operate a 512-quibit quantum computer called the D-Wave Two. The lab has been specifically set up to study machine learning — the way computers look at patterns of information to improve their outputs. Quantum computing is being used because of its ability to come up with different possible analyses of data simultaneously.
So what does this mean for the real world? Google explained on its blog:
“We hope it helps researchers construct more efficient and more accurate models for everything from speech recognition, to web search, to protein folding. We actually think quantum machine learning may provide the most creative problem-solving process under the known laws of physics.”
In other words, this research can lead to building better voice-activated technology, offering better search results and even developing cures for diseases. The possibilities are infinite.