D-Wave Systems out of Vancouver announced today that one its new D-Wave Two™ quantum computers will be installed at the newly established Quantum Artificial Intelligence Lab, a collaboration between Google, the Universities Space Research Association and NASA.
The lab will be hosted at NASA’s Ames Research Center and Google has stated their goal is “to study how quantum computing might advance machine learning.”
The lab will initially be home to D-Wave Systems Inc. new 512-qubit quantum computer, the D-Wave Two™. D-Wave, also has offices in Palo Alto and bills itself as the first commercial quantum computing company.
Google in a post on their Research Blog today said “Machine learning is all about building better models of the world to make more accurate predictions. If we want to cure diseases, we need better models of how they develop. If we want to create effective environmental policies, we need better models of what’s happening to our climate. And if we want to build a more useful search engine, we need to better understand spoken questions and what’s on the web so you get the best answer.”
“Classical computers aren’t well suited to these types of creative problems. Solving such problems can be imagined as trying to find the lowest point on a surface covered in hills and valleys. Classical computing might use what’s called “gradient descent”: start at a random spot on the surface, look around for a lower spot to walk down to, and repeat until you can’t walk downhill anymore. But all too often that gets you stuck in a “local minimum” — a valley that isn’t the very lowest point on the surface.”
“That’s where quantum computing comes in. It lets you cheat a little, giving you some chance to “tunnel” through a ridge to see if there’s a lower valley hidden beyond it. This gives you a much better shot at finding the true lowest point — the optimal solution.”
USRA will manage the science operations for the collaboration which will benefit its researchers by having an allocation of 20% of the computing time.
Canada is a world leader in quantum research with the Perimeter Institute of Theoretical Physics in Waterloo leading the way and includes world class researchers such as Stephen Hawkings
“D-Wave has made significant strides in the technology, application and now commercialization of quantum computing,” said Steve Conway , IDC research vice president for high performance computing. “The order for a D-Wave Two system for the initiative launched by NASA, Google and USRA attests to the revolutionary potential of this fundamentally different approach to computing for both industry and government. HPC buyers and users are looking for ways to speed up their applications beyond what contemporary technologies can deliver. IDC believes organizations that depend on leading-edge technology would do well to begin exploring the possibilities for quantum computing.”
Installation of the new quantum computer at NASA Ames and is expected to be operation by Q3.