Blog Post

Google, NASA explain quantum computing and making mincemeat of big data

Google has released a video in which its researchers, along with those from NASA and D-Wave, show off their new quantum computer. It’s an informative video about quantum physics and quantum computing generally (I didn’t realize it’s just one tiny processor inside a giant machine designed to keep it near absolute zero), but I was drawn to the notion that big data could be its killer app.

“Really, we don’t know what the best questions are to ask that computer,” NASA’s Eleanor Rieffel says in the video, but the suggestion is it can process massive, complex datasets in ways we haven’t yet conceived. Oh, and it can do it with a fraction of a fraction of the energy currently required.

Watch the video for the whole story and some great images of the D-Wave system.

12 Responses to “Google, NASA explain quantum computing and making mincemeat of big data”

  1. @KirkisThinking

    As mentioned by Nicholas mentioned, one has to coax out the right answer… At the moment. Once the “filtering” and act of observing superposition is refined this will come faster, easier, and more correct. We are not far away from the point of them being faster than the universe, but not “accurate” in the sense we think of computers look up Rose law image.. Think like a person, it may be the right answer but there is still a probability it is correct. I believe there will have to be some intelligence applied to the this filtering. No one has the database of information (books, earth, search, images, video, internet) Google does, and their AI project with Mr. Kurzweil. Google is big data. Singularity as it is described above is explained well in one of the monologues in “the waking life” movie. But this may take a few years still to have meaningful answers, even if the qbit rate is theoretically possible to have all the possible probabilities in it for the answer. I have not read a theroretical qbit size that could do this, but I think it is safely under 20,000…. In 12 years we have gone exponentially to D-waves 512. So 10 years… Lets say 15 to be in line with Googles employee, Mr. Kurzweil. (No disrespect meant by not stating his titles). It is an exciting time indeed!

  2. In the video NASA indicates that it will “develop a more holistic model of the universe”. It might seem like pure fantasy now, but with quantum processors we will eventually accomplish some incredible things, like run computer simulated universes that are indistinguishable from our own “real” universe, even complete with simulated minds. There is a new book that discusses the implications of Rose’s Law, D-Wave Systems, and quantum computers in general (i.e., “On Computer Simulated Universes”). The author, Mark Solomon, writes that if quantum computers can someday run simulated universes, then there must also must be a series of computer simulated universes contained within computer simulated universes. With many active simulations, there would be a range of physical properties differing from universe to universe. Universes with more positive physical traits to support life would produce better environments for more advanced civilizations to evolve to the point where they themselves would create their own computer simulated universes. And this process would continue. So over a long period of time, universes would evolve with the physics more favorable for life. He says that universes, over time, have been naturally selected for particular physical properties, with an end result of creating more and more habitable universes. In other words, this could explain how the laws of physics might actually evolve relying on a process similar to species evolution. Solomon also goes on to say that, from a determinism standpoint, there is no meaningful distinction between an individual or group of individuals running a simulated universe versus one simulated universe running another simulated universe. A fascinating technological revolution is ahead of us.

  3. Don Murray

    I’m still surprised that so many video producers don’t know that, at some level, background music or sound effects make it harder for people to understand speech which is the important part of the video.

    • Any computer can break encryption codes, but a quantum computer would do it in a miniscule fraction of the time. Take a 128 SSL encryption for example, a normal computer would take over 13,000,000,000 (13 billion) years to go through every possible combination to the code, whereas a large enough quantum computer could do the same job in much less then 1,000,000,000 years (Still a huge number I know, but it’s more than 13 times faster).

  4. Reblogged this on And Then… and commented:
    Quantum Computing is one of the most powerful engines, whereby, the answer is not a Boolean, 1 or 0, whereby the answer is not a bit, but a statistical wheel of opportunities per computation. The tangibility and applications, from my perspective, should calculate to probability ranges rather than a single answer. But, what do I know. Google turned me down for a job.

    • Lucia kersten

      Your supposition is correct. A probability array with expected value analogs would provide a more compleat answer. Perhaps you are committing a logic error, that is, (the) Fallacy of the Hidden Assumption. The Hidden Assumption being Google knows-what-it-is doing,


    • Nicholas

      I do know that it spits out many answers, doing the calculation over and over again, and that the answers that turn up the most are considered the right answer since the computer is not that accurate. It’s adiabatic quantum computing and is distinct from the digital quantum computing other companies are also trying to achieve.