Quantum Science 101

What Will Google's Quantum Computer do?

Topics Covered

Google’s Quantum Computer
Inside Google’s Quantum Computer
Using Google’s Quantum Computer
Future of Quantum Computing
Conclusion
References

A quantum computer is a computing system that performs data operations by using quantum-mechanical processes such as entanglement and superposition.

Quantum computers produce data based on quantum properties, unlike digital computers that provide data encoded in bits. Large-scale quantum computers use integer factorization algorithms or quantum system simulation to resolve problems faster than any other classical computers.

A common demonstration of this is Simon's Algorithm - a mathematical problem devised by Daniel Simon which can be solved exponentially faster by a quantum computer than by a conventional computer.

Google’s Quantum Computer

In early 2009, Google announced its collaboration with Canadian company, D-Wave Systems, Inc and NASA to work on a project that solves some of the complex computational problems by using a 512-quantum bit (qubit) D-Wave Two quantum computer.

Following this, in May 2013, the trio launched the Quantum Artificial Intelligence Lab that operates on machine learning through which computing systems observe the information patterns to enhance their outputs.

Recently, Google released a short film at Imagine Science Films Festival, New York, which explains about quantum computing and applications of the D-Wave quantum computer that is installed at NASA’s Ames Research facility:

Inside Google’s Quantum Computer

The D-Wave computer employs four 128s qubit chips for a total of 512 qubits of algorithmic capacity. The chips are operated based on quantum entanglement, a process that allows different particles that are not physically connected to each other to affect each others' properties.

Researchers are planning to further upgrade interactions of the machine from 512 qubits to 2,048 qubits, giving it enough power to tackle more complex calculations.

The quantum machine operates by constructing complex problems in terms of energy states and determining the output that satisfies the energy variables using quantum physics. It has a built-in helium cooling system to allow these energy states to be stabilized.

Using Google’s Quantum Computer

Some of the most interesting applications for the quantum computer are to do with interpreting natural language, body language, and other signals which humans can interpret, but conventional computers are very poor at.

An example of this is a "wink detector" algorithm designed by Google as part of their wearable electronics project, Glass. The algorithm was supposed to tell the difference between involuntary and intentional winks, but it turned out to be very inaccurate. Google hope to develop a better version using quantum computation.

Other key areas where the power of Google’s quantum computer can be harnessed include the following:

  • Jet aircraft designs
  • Satellite systems
  • Finance
  • Drug discovery
  • Cybersecurity

Future of Quantum Computing

Google has invested nearly 10 million USD to develop this exotic technology, and its researchers believe that more complex algorithms can be developed once they explore further the mechanism of quantum computing.

They also hope that, with the evolution of quantum computing technology, quantum computers will likely become less expensive and simpler to construct in the forseeable future.

Conclusion

Conventional computers, including supercomputers, need substantial time to process big data. Scientists have now developed a computer that harnesses principles of quantum theory to perform complex calculations rapidly.

In quantum computers, information is represented in qubits by taking advantage of processes such as quantum entanglement and quantum tunneling.

With the evolution of Google’s quantum computer, extremely sensitive data can be easily encoded and decoded in almost no time when compared to other traditional computers. Undoubtedly, the future of computing lies with quantum computers.

References

 

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