Google Unveils Quantum Computing Research Initiative

Google Inc. is broadening efforts to create its own cutting-edge computer technology, seeking to use more artificial intelligence in designs that could someday speed up its services.

The company yesterday unveiled a hardware initiative to develop and build processors for its Quantum Artificial Intelligence group, which focuses on technology capable of super-fast calculations based on principles of quantum mechanics. A research team from the University of California at Santa Barbara is joining the initiative, Mountain View, California-based Google said on its research blog.

Google, which spent almost $8 billion on research and development last year, is investing in fresh computing ideas as it looks to keep the lead in markets such as Internet search and online advertising. Quantum technology is seen by some in the technology industry as a transformative way for computers to analyze vast amounts of data. Such advances would be especially useful in Google’s main businesses, as well as newer projects like Web-connected devices and cars.

“With an integrated hardware group, the Quantum AI team will now be able to implement and test new designs,” the company said on its blog.

The computers promise to be faster than traditional ones at solving tricky problems that require sorting through and analyzing large volumes of digital information. One of Google’s Quantum AI researchers, Masoud Mohseni, has co-authored papers with leading academics in the field, and the company has been seen as helping lead the push into this new technology.

Google rival Microsoft Corp., the world’s largest software maker, is also pursuing this area via its Quantum Architectures and Computation Group.

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