NASA and Google Achieves a Significant Milestone in Quantum Computing

By CIOReview | Wednesday, December 16, 2015
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FREMONT, CA: A conventional computer has a memory made up of bits but a quantum computer maintains a sequence of quantum bits (qubits). A single qubit can represent a one, a zero or any quantum superposition of those two qubit states, a pair of qubit can be any quantum superposition of 4 states, and three qubits in any superposition of 8 bits.

Google has finally announced that its D-wave X2 Supercomputer has seen positive results in a test which revealed that D-wave X2 is 100 million times faster than a conventional computer. Back in 2013, Google and NASA had announced that they were collaborating on the D-wave X2 quantum computer. The D-wave X2 is a product of Canadian company D-wave systems, supposedly the world’s first functional quantum computer.

The computer is deployed in NASA’s Ames Research Center, Mountain View, California, and operates on data using a superconducting chip named quantum annealer. Quantum annealing (QA) is a metaheuristic for finding the global minimum of a given objective function over a given set of candidate solutions, using quantum fluctuations. “It is a truly disruptive technology that could change how we do everything,” said Rupak Biswas, Director of Exploration Technology, NASA’s Ames Research Center, Mountain View-California.

Google claims that the company's latest research paper has the proof to assure on the capability of quantum computers. The company recently tested the new QA algorithm in a proof-of-concept trial of quantum computing against normal systems. The results are impressive as Google's method beat out the other traditional systems method, solving a function with 1000 binary variables up to 100 million times faster. “For a specific, carefully crafted proof-of-concept problem we achieve a 100-million-fold speed-up,” stated Hartmut Neven, Leader, Google Quantum AI Lab.