The Google / NASA Quantum Artificial Intelligence Lab

Update 20/05/2013: Here is how you can apply for time on the system. Exciting!

Update 16/05/2013: Here is some press coverage of the announcement.

When D-Wave was founded in 1999, our objective was to build the world’s first useful quantum computer.

The way I thought about it was that we’d have succeeded if: (a) someone bought one for more than $10M; (b) it was clearly using quantum mechanics to do its thing; and (c) it was better at something than any other option available. Now all of these have been accomplished, and the original objectives that we’d set for ourselves have all been met.

Me, Suzanne Gildert, Hartmut and Eddie Farhi at QIP-2010.

A historic shot? Hartmut and friends at QIP-2010.

As the hardware matured, we began exploring ways to use its special capabilities. One of the first people I met who was also interested in this problem was Dr. Hartmut Neven, who works at Google. Hartmut is a world leading expert in computer vision, and believed that there might be a role for our technology in computer vision and more generally machine learning.

Machine learning is an important subfield of artificial intelligence. While it is very difficult to even define what intelligence is (there are even more definitions than for quantum computers), one thing that is pretty much universally recognized is that anything we’d call intelligent must be able to learn. Trying to understand how learning from experience works has driven a lot of progress in understanding how human perception and cognition might work.

The Quantum Artificial Intelligence Lab’s mandate is to bring the world’s best machine learning experts together with the world’s most advanced quantum computers, and perform thousands of experiments to explore to what extent machine intelligence and cognition can be advanced by using these new types of computers.

The quest to understand intelligence is one of the most interesting and important challenges that humanity has ever faced. It is a daunting problem. But so was building quantum computers, or even conventional computers for that matter. I believe we can apply the same principles we used to solve the quantum computing problem to the (much harder) problem of understanding how intelligence works.

8 thoughts on “The Google / NASA Quantum Artificial Intelligence Lab

  1. Pingback: Septimana Mirabilis – Major Quantum Information Technology Breakthroughs | Wavewatching

  2. Geordie —
    Congratulations. 14 years of hard work well placed.

    As for the cost of $10M +. I can’t help but think this is cheap. In the early 60s an IBM mainframe was about the same price. (If anyone knows the price of an IBM 360 model 40 from April 1965 I’d like to know.) Lesser mainframes were priced at ~$10M in ’62. In 2012, the relative value of $10,000,000 from 1965 ranges from $57,900,000 to $218,000,000. The low end of the scale is what what $10M of goods or labour from then would cost in 2012. The high end the value of a project today that would have the same impact on the US economy as $10M in 1965. (Inflation calcs by the great website “”. 2012 used as last complete year.) In short, $10M + is cheap.

  3. I think USRA is not allocating time at this moment. They are building a notification list so that they can inform people when they start taking application for time allocation.

  4. Pingback: Google/Nasa Computational Research with D-wave 2 «

  5. One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind. I’ll be watching the news for more.

    Geordie, you are brilliant!

    I’ll say this next bit as short as I can.
    Procedures can be dynamically assembled by matching input and or output object states. What procedure inputs bread and outputs toast? It is very helpful to index procedures by their effect on object states. What procedure(s) can change my object state location work to home?

    A GPS is great example. You tell the GPS where you want to go and it creates a pathway. It writes a set of instructions for you, a program.

    All thinking is searching, though, not all searching is thinking.

    Searching generates pathways. A pathway can be a procedure (program).

  6. Pingback: The D-Wave Saga and Science Journalism | One Quantum at a Time

  7. Do you guys remember a movie called the Terminator. Is nobody worried about the negative effects that a machine with the equivalent power to think that is measured like this.
    Einstein X 7 Billion. Because your going to need a good size room to fit 7 billion Einstein’s in if you ever need to turn this machine off. Guys I love technology and all the amazing things that go with it. But I am compelled to say. I GOT A BAD FEELING ABOUT model 2048. I sure hope the creators of this new form of life have wrighten in some kind Oh Shit switch.

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