Google and NASA have joined forces to launch the Quantum Artificial Intelligence Lab that will allow researchers at the two organizations and a number of universities to research artificial intelligence using quantum computers. The lab will use a D-Wave 2 computer that is priced at around $15 million.
D-Wave's computer, which for years has courted controversy regarding whether it really is a quantum computer, is a second generation unit that is rated at 512-qubit and makes use of quantum effects that in theory can deliver performance that is several orders of magnitude higher than that of traditional computers for certain workloads.
Google and NASA's collaboration is intended to foster research into machine learning by using D-Wave's quantum computer. For Google, research into machine learning presents some obvious benefits for trying to attach contextual meaning to data that it collects.
NASA also makes extensive use of high performance computing for its research and missions.
"Examples today include using supercomputers to model space weather, simulate planetary atmospheres, explore magnetohydrodynamics, mimic galactic collisions, simulate hypersonic vehicles, and analyse large amounts of mission data," said Colin Williams, director of business development and strategic partnerships at D-Wave.
Aside from Google and NASA, 20 percent of the machine's compute cycles will be available to university researchers for free. However university researchers will have to submit proposals and go through a competitive process to get access to the machine.