Why Googles new quantum computer could launch an artificial intelligence arms race

center_img The other competitorsAnd it’s not just Google D-Wave vs. IBM Watson in some ultimate cage match to see which is better and faster at optimizing solutions to hard problems; it’s all the other classes of unconventional computers out there. Consider, for example, the new memcomputer, which mimics the way the human brain works, storing and processing information simultaneously. There are plenty of other unconventional computers, too, including some that are biological. And other research labs and universities –such as at the University of Maryland or Yale University, which recently launched the Yale Quantum Institute – are working on their own quantum computers.What all this points to is that traditional digital computing (what Google refers to as “classical computing”) is on the way out. We’re now looking for a new heir apparent, and Google hopes to anoint D-Wave as the rightful heir. With its big announcement that quantum computing can work, Google hopes to show that they’ve figured out how to make practical quantum computers for the commercial market.Anytime you claim to have created something that’s 100 million times as fast as anything else that’s ever existed, though, you’re bound to run up against skeptics. Indeed, there are plenty of skeptics for the D-Wave. One big quibble about the quantum qubits, for example, is that the test results were not nearly as impressive as Google claims they were. That’s because the digital computer trying to defeat the quantum computer was forced to compete under Google’s house rules, which meant that it had to use the same algorithm that the quantum computer used – and that algorithm had already been carefully sculpted to the peculiarities of the quantum world. Imagine running a race against a competitor in shoes that are too big, pants that keep falling down, and on a course where your competitor can run across and through the track – not just around it.last_img

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