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Google leaps into another quantum computing research project


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Though the effectiveness of quantum computing is highly disputed right now, that hasn’t deterred Google from throwing more money at it. Mountain View just announced that it’s backing another effort to build a new breed of quantum processors with scientists from the University of California at Santa Barbara (UCSB). Google is already a partner at NASA’s Quantum Artificial Intelligence Lab (QUAIL), and invested some $15 million in a D-Wave quantum computer for the project. However, a study done on a D-Wave’s computer has cast doubt on the efficacy of the machine, a claim that was refuted by D-Wave as “bullshit.” Intriguingly, several researchers involved in that study were also from UCSB — like John Martinis, who has worked on quantum computing for nearly 30 years.

Google has recruited Martinis, along with several other members of his team (who will continue to work at UCSB as well). That team recently developed a method for improving the reliability of quantum processors to make them more commercially viable. However, despite the apparent friction between the researchers and D-Wave (which is developing a new, more powerful “Vesuvius” computer) Google’s Hartmut Neven sees the research as complimentary. “We will continue to collaborate with D-Wave scientists and to experiment with the “Vesuvius” machine at NASA Ames.”


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