Google teams up with Nasa to build quantum computers

Quantum computing

Google has partnered with Nasa to collaborate on a quantum computing project.

The research will look into designing and building new quantum information processors based on superconducting electronics.

The team will be headed by John Martinis of the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB). Google will work alongside researchers at NASA's Ames Space Research Centre and the Universities Space Research Asssociation (USRA).

In a blog post, Harmnut Neven, director of engineering at the Google Quantum AI Lab Team, said with an integrated hardware group the Quantum AI team will "now be able to implement and test new designs for quantum optimisation and inference processors based on recent theoretical insights as well as our learnings from the D-Wave quantum annealing architecture".

Neven said Martinis and his group had made "great strides" building superconducting quantum electronic components of very high fidelity.

Martinis was recently awarded the London Prize in recognition of his "pioneering advances in quantum control and quantum information processing".

The team will also continue to collaborate with D-Wave scientists and to experiment with the Vesuvius machine at NASA Ames, which will be upgraded to a 1000 qubit Washington processor.

The ultimate aim of the research will be to scale up this type of computation to a much larger scale and enable researchers to reveal patterns in data from a variety of sources.

But quantum computing hasn't had an easy journey. In a recent test, it was shown that D-Wave's quantum computer did no better at solving complex computation problems than a conventional processor.

Earlier in the year, the UCSB team developed a computer based on a superconducting multi-qubit processor that has overcome the many hurdles in reliability that quantum computing faces.

Rene Millman

Rene Millman is a freelance writer and broadcaster who covers cybersecurity, AI, IoT, and the cloud. He also works as a contributing analyst at GigaOm and has previously worked as an analyst for Gartner covering the infrastructure market. He has made numerous television appearances to give his views and expertise on technology trends and companies that affect and shape our lives. You can follow Rene Millman on Twitter.