Google and NASA are hoping to have a quantum computer up and running in their new lab by the end of this year. The Quantum Artificial Intelligence Lab is a major effort to experiment with next-generation computing so that the two organizations can develop better machine learning.
Quantum computing is something you're going to hear more about as time goes by: It's a way of using some of the peculiar common sense-challenging tricks of quantum physics to build a computer that can run calculations thousands of times more swiftly than is currently possible. The goal for both Google and NASA is to develop smarter computers in the future—ones that can help Google perform faster and more accurate face recognition for example, or ones that can help NASA perform even more sophisticated simulations in astrophysics.
The computer itself has been bought from Canadian company D-Wave, which this year sold its first commercial unit to defense firm Lockheed Martin.