Google is embarking on an artificial intelligence research project looking at building new quantum information processors based on superconducting electronics.
The internet giant has partnered with John Martinis and his team at UC Santa Barbara for the initiative, as well as NASA and the Universities Space Research Association (USRA) to study quantum computing in relation to artificial intelligence.
A quantum computer is different to digitial computers based on transistors. They instead make use of ‘quantum-mechanicalphenomena, such as superposition and entanglement, to perform operations on data’, and use qubits instead of binary digits.
"John and his group have made great strides in building superconducting quantum electronic components of very high fidelity," Google said in a statement. "He recently was awarded the London Prize recognizing him for his pioneering advances in quantum control and quantum information processing.
"With an integrated hardware group the Quantum AI team will now be able to implement and test new designs for quantum optimisation and inference processors based on recent theoretical insights as well as our learnings from the D-Wave quantum annealing architecture. We will continue to collaborate with D-Wave scientists and to experiment with the “Vesuvius” machine at NASA Ames which will be upgraded to a 1000 qubit “Washington” processor."
Google’s other AI work includes self-driving cars and robots. The firm also acquired AI company DeepMind earlier this year.