Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Google Launches the Quantum Artificial Intelligence Lab (GOOG)

From the Google Research blog:

We believe quantum computing may help solve some of the most challenging computer science problems, particularly in machine learning. Machine learning is all about building better models of the world to make more accurate predictions. If we want to cure diseases, we need better models of how they develop. If we want to create effective environmental policies, we need better models of what’s happening to our climate. And if we want to build a more useful search engine, we need to better understand spoken questions and what’s on the web so you get the best answer.

So today we’re launching the Quantum Artificial Intelligence Lab. NASA’s Ames Research Center will host the lab, which will house a quantum computer from D-Wave Systems, and the USRA (Universities Space Research Association) will invite researchers from around the world to share time on it. Our goal: to study how quantum computing might advance machine learning.

Machine learning is highly difficult. It’s what mathematicians call an “NP-hard” problem. That’s because building a good model is really a creative act. As an analogy, consider what it takes to architect a house. You’re balancing lots of constraints -- budget, usage requirements, space limitations, etc. -- but still trying to create the most beautiful house you can. A creative architect will find a great solution. Mathematically speaking the architect is solving an optimization problem and creativity can be thought of as the ability to come up with a good solution given an objective and constraints...MORE 
HT: Steve Jurvetson's flickr:
In the D-Wave Board meeting in Canada this morning. Today's news: Google buys a quantum computer for machine learning and artificial intelligence: "We actually think quantum machine learning may provide the most creative problem-solving process under the known laws of physics. " — Google Blog

This is an interesting development in a larger trend I call Deus Ex Machina — machine learning innervates everything.

Under the covers, just about every new research initiative at Google is driven by machine learning — whereby the machine learns patterns in the data without explicit models or traditional solution design. It’s what makes “Big Data” BIG this time around. The approach requires a humble relaxation of the presumption of control, and so it starts with companies like Google and eventually revolutionizes all businesses, even those with a delusion of control, like Investment bankers. =)

As a precondition to purchase, Google gave the company a number of performance benchmarks to prove that the quantum computer is faster than anything Google has in house. The NYT reports:
“For most problems, it was 11,000 times faster, but in the more difficult 50 percent, it was 33,000 times faster. In the top 25 percent, it was 50,000 times faster.”...MORE 
Ultimate HT: Next Big Future who we'll be returning to this afternoon.

Previously on D-Wave:
many links:
Does Lockheed Have a Quantum Computer or Doesn't It? (LK)
"The CIA and Jeff Bezos Bet on Quantum Computing" (AMZN)
Quantum Computing: CIA and Bezos Invest in D-Wave Systems Inc.

And on the Quantum:
"Does probability come from quantum physics?"
 "Hacking the Quantum: A New Book Explains How Anyone Can Become an Amateur Quantum Physicist"
 Quantum Physicists Disagree on the Nature of Reality
 Multiple Steps Toward the 'Quantum Singularity'