A controversial machine bought in by Google and NASA, and named the world’s first commercial quantum computer, has beaten a conventional computer in a series of tests, according to researchers at Google.
They also said that they had proof of it using quantum physics to work through a type of maths that is crucial to artificial intelligence (AI) and is much faster than a conventional computer.
Governments and leading computing companies such as Microsoft, IBM and Google are trying to develop what are called quantum computers because using the weirdness of quantum mechanics to represent data could unlock immense data-crunching powers. Computing giants believe quantum computers could make their AI software much more powerful and unlock scientific leaps in areas like materials science.
NASA hopes quantum computers could help schedule rocket launches and simulate future missions and spacecraft. The computer is installed
at NASA’s Ames Research Centre and operates on data using a superconducting chip called a quantum annealer, which is hard-coded with an algorithm suited to what are called optimization problems. These are common in machine-learning and AI software.