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.
- Google Buys a Quantum Computer; Quentin Hardy, New York Times
- NASA and Google Purchase a D-Wave Quantum Computer; Alex Knapp, Forbes
- Google and NASA Snap up Quantum Computer; Nicola Jones, Nature
- Google and NASA Launch Quantum AI Lab; Charles Choi, MIT Technology Review
- Google Joins Supercomputing Project; Wall Street Journal (subscription required)
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.
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.