Last month we reported on Google planning a “watershed” quantum computing announcement, which the company and NASA delivered jointly today. Google’s Quantum AI team announced the results of its latest test in understanding the physics governing quantum annealers, which shows that quantum annealing can outperform simulated annealing by more than 108 times – yes that’s 100,000,000x faster.
Google achieved these results by running problems involving “nearly 1000 binary variables” into the D-Wave 2X quantum annealer. The results could potentially end the longstanding debate about whether or not D-Wave’s technology is performing true quantum annealing instead of performing classical simulated annealing without using any quantum effect.
D-Wave is a quantum computing firm based in Canada. The company made important strides in the field and attracted an impressive list of investors including the CIA’s investment arm In-Q-Tel and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.
Quantum computing is believed to be the solution to the approaching physical barrier of computing, but understanding — nevertheless governing — the physics behind it is an extremely complex problem and Google says there’s more work ahead:
While these results are intriguing and very encouraging, there is more work ahead to turn quantum enhanced optimization into a practical technology.
But Google also says it is optimistic that the recent results will carry over to commercially relevant problems with tasks relevant to machine intelligence.
Here’s a quick video by In a Nutshell to get a better understanding of Quantum Computing: