Google, NASA use quantum computing lab to advance machine learning, AI

The research lab will be home to a 512-qubit quantum computer built by Canadian company D-Wave Systems.

Google is using a new research lab in a NASA facility in California to study how quantum computing can help solve some of the world's most pressing problems.

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Google scientist to demo quantum computer

Dr Hartmut Neven is to participate in a demo by start-up D-Wave Systems of a device claimed to be the first practical quantum computer

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The Quantum Artificial Intelligence Lab — based in NASA's Ames Research Centre — will use a quantum computer to develop more sophisticated models that can help scientists understand things like climate change and disease development, as well as help Google further develop its own search engine.

Quantum computing involves exploiting the strange behaviour of matter at quantum scales to achieve processing speeds up to 3,600 times greater than a conventional computer.  

The D-Wave Two quantum computer that Google and NASA are using has 512 qubits. It is built around a superconducting processor that uses quantum mechanics to accelerate computation.

Google plans to use the quantum computer to develop machine learning and AI techniques, including voice recognition.

Google and the Universities Space Research Association (USRA) will invite scientists and researchers from a variety of disciplines to use the quantum computer.

Installation of the quantum computer has already started and the system is expected to be ready for researchers to use in the third quarter of this year.