Quantum computer by Google and NASA is more than 100 million times faster than a regular computer chip

Dec 9, 2015

Google appears to be more confident about the technical capabilities of its D-Wave 2X quantum computer, which it operates alongside NASA at the U.S. space agency’s Ames Research Center in Mountain View, California.

D-Wave’s machines are the closest thing we have today to quantum computing, which works with quantum bits, or qubits — each of which can be zero or one or both — instead of more conventional bits. The superposition of these qubits enable machines to make great numbers of computations to simultaneously, making a quantum computer highly desirable for certain types of processes.

In two tests, the Google Quantum Artificial Intelligence Lab today announced that it has found the D-Wave machine to be considerably faster than simulated annealing — a simulation of quantum computation on a classical computer chip.

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9 comments on “Quantum computer by Google and NASA is more than 100 million times faster than a regular computer chip

  • Unfortunately and embarrassingly, the author of this article clearly does not understand the text he or she is paraphrasing. It makes no sense to say the computer is faster than simulated annealing, which is an optimisation algorithm.

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  • Annealing has two meanings. In metallurgy it means how heat treating modifies metals. According to the Wikipedia, in computation Simulated annealing (SA) is a probabilistic technique for approximating the global optimum of a given function. Specifically, it is a metaheuristic for approximate global optimization in a large search space. It is often used when the search space is discrete (e.g., all tours that visit a given set of cities). For problems where finding the precise global optimum is less important than finding an acceptable global optimum in a fixed amount of time, simulated annealing may be preferable to alternatives such as brute-force search or gradient descent.

    Is the travelling salesman problem becoming tractable?

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  • In simpler terms, annealing is a way of making sure your search for the lowest “valley” in a probability space doesn’t just settle upon the first low point it finds. Annealing “kicks your search out” of shallow valleys until it finds a deep one that resists the kick. Tradeoff alert: The harder the kick, the longer the search will take.

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