Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Google Demonstrates Quantum Computer Image Search

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the superposition-of-evil-and-not-evil dept.

Google 106

An anonymous reader sends along this quote from New Scientist: "Google's web services may be considered cutting edge, but they run in warehouses filled with conventional computers. Now the search giant has revealed it is investigating the use of quantum computers to run its next generation of faster applications. Writing on Google's research blog this week, Hartmut Neven, head of its image recognition team, reveals that the Californian firm has for three years been quietly developing a quantum computer that can identify particular objects in a database of stills or video (PDF). Google has been doing this, Neven says, with D-Wave, a Canadian firm that has developed an on-chip array of quantum bits — or qubits — encoded in magnetically coupled superconducting loops."

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

First post (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30422688)

First post

eat my shorts slashdot !! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30422690)

Eat my shorts slashdot !!

Already Skynet protects itself (4, Interesting)

tjstork (137384) | more than 4 years ago | (#30422700)

http://royal.pingdom.com/2008/04/11/map-of-all-google-data-center-locations/ [pingdom.com]

"Google secrecy

Google has made it difficult both to find out where they keep their data centers and how many they have. One big reason for this is that almost all IP addresses that Google uses (and there are a lot of them) are listed to their Mountain View, California address, so just looking at IP addresses (with IP WHOIS or IP-to-location databases) won’t help you figure out where their data centers are or how many they have.

In addition to this, Google usually seeks permits for their data center projects using companies (LLCs) that don’t mention Google at all, for example Lapis LLC in North Carolina and Tetra LLC in Iowa.

Since Google tends to be quite secretive about their data centers in general, the information we have presented here most likely isn’t 100% complete"

Re:Already Skynet protects itself (4, Insightful)

Sebilrazen (870600) | more than 4 years ago | (#30422838)

In addition to this, Google usually seeks permits for their data center projects using companies (LLCs) that don’t mention Google at all, for example Lapis LLC in North Carolina and Tetra LLC in Iowa.

That's not a Google thing, that's a standard practice. I know for sure AT&T does it, Global Switch [globalswitch.com] in Amsterdam is one of the locations that AT&T has set up operations.

Re:Already Skynet protects itself (5, Funny)

Pflipp (130638) | more than 4 years ago | (#30423570)

Google has made it difficult both to find out where they keep their data centers and how many they have.

Well, you can get to know either, but just not both at the same time.

That's quantum for ya.

Re:Already Skynet protects itself (1)

FlyMysticalDJ (1660959) | more than 4 years ago | (#30423932)

Google has made it difficult both to find out where they keep their data centers and how many they have.

Well, you can get to know either, but just not both at the same time.

That's quantum for ya.

Does that imply that if you observe the location of one, they either build a new one or tear one down? More amusingly, if you figure out how many they have, all of the existing ones move to new locations.

Re:Already Skynet protects itself (1)

Thinboy00 (1190815) | more than 4 years ago | (#30426328)

Yes, they're all on wheels.

Re:Already Skynet protects itself (1)

Qu4Z (1402097) | more than 4 years ago | (#30426620)

I thought they were on ships?

Re:Already Skynet protects itself (1)

darthflo (1095225) | more than 4 years ago | (#30429322)

Ships with wheels.

Re:Already Skynet protects itself (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30423942)

This is clearly preparation for setting up Skynet. :P

Re:Already Skynet protects itself (1)

mjwalshe (1680392) | more than 4 years ago | (#30424794)

well duh it's common for big DC's to do this its part of the pysical security for years all BT's Datacentres had no external sinage as they where bomb targets.

Re:Already Skynet protects itself (1)

OrangeCatholic (1495411) | more than 4 years ago | (#30429852)

Remember when Google went public and you wondered if they were going to be able to make money? I mean, yeah, it's a smart company, but they were just a search engine and so many other tech IPOs were based in fantasy.

I'm so proud of them. We actually got a research company out of the internet boom. Having Google around easily replaces the loss of creative shops like Sun. I guess Google is on the level of Microsoft and IBM now.

Yeah it's fun to call them SkyNet or whatever, but as long as you're doing 99.9% of your web work unencrypted, phone calls unencrypted, cell phone blasting out your location, Google is pretty far down on the list of threats compared to your jealous and cock-eating next door neighbor.

Noooooo (4, Funny)

iamapizza (1312801) | more than 4 years ago | (#30422706)

... for three years been quietly developing a quantum computer that can identify particular objects in a database of stills or video

I call foul - they're changing the results by observing it!

Re:Noooooo (1)

Thinboy00 (1190815) | more than 4 years ago | (#30426338)

Wonder if said computer can identify pictures of Schrödinger's cat?

Re:Noooooo (2, Funny)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 4 years ago | (#30427084)

Yes and no.

Well... (2, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#30422742)

That would be an interesting departure from their usual "cheap commodity whiteboxes" strategy.

Re:Well... (2, Insightful)

Nefarious Wheel (628136) | more than 4 years ago | (#30426416)

That would be an interesting departure from their usual "cheap commodity whiteboxes" strategy

In the short term, yes. In the long term, perhaps not. On the scale of things Google they're likely to turn into "cheap commodity quantum whiteboxes".

Either that, or everybody will be able to use the same one simultaneously.

I project there will be a world need for five of them. None of them will need more than 640k and there will be no need for a personal version in the home.

Re:Well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30428834)

Expensive specialized blackboxes?

Oh no, not D-Wave. (5, Informative)

Interoperable (1651953) | more than 4 years ago | (#30422784)

I trust Google not to do anything unbelievably stupid (a bit silly perhaps, but nothing too absurd) but thinking that D-Wave can make a quantum computer is a very, very bad idea. Now it sounds like Google has been working on the algorithm side and I suspect that they're doing good work. The trouble is that D-Wave is doing the hardware. This is a company that has yet to demonstrate any success whatsoever.

They frequently release press updates saying that they have added more bits to the machine but they have never shown it to work for even a small number of bits. The physicists who developed the idea of an adiabatic quantum computer say that D-Wave seems to have misinterpreted their theory to make unrealistic claims and the whole thing is regarded as a bit of a joke in the physics community.

That said, developing the algorithms is a worthwhile thing to do so Google may not be relying on D-Wave to justify their research. I hope not. D-Wave may actually be on to something big that they haven't revealed to the scientific community, but probably not.

Re:Oh no, not D-Wave. (4, Informative)

phme (1501991) | more than 4 years ago | (#30422908)

TFA seems to imply the chip is actually working:

The hardware used in the experiment is an early generation Chimera chip where 52 of the 128 qubits were functioning.

Re:Oh no, not D-Wave. (4, Interesting)

Interoperable (1651953) | more than 4 years ago | (#30422922)

Sorry to reply to my own comment but I should add a link [scottaaronson.com] . It covers, in non technical language, the some of the objections to D-Waves claims, what kind of dubious science their people do and what is bull**** that the marketing people flat out invent. It is only one person's perspective but the guy is very, very capable of evaluating statements made by D-Wave.

Re:Oh no, not D-Wave. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30423252)

I'm sure, before paterning with them, google googled "d-wave tech +bullshit"

Re:Oh no, not D-Wave. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30424064)

As such, I can’t directly evaluate D-Wave’s central claim to have built an adiabatic quantum computer, nor have I ever tried to do so.

Unfortunately he can't evaluate the only statements that really matter. An overzealous marketing team means little.

Re:Oh no, not D-Wave. (3, Informative)

JamesP (688957) | more than 4 years ago | (#30422968)

Yes, I'm sure people at Google would just pour money for three years in the first bozo that claims quantum computing without checking the validity of its claims

We demonstrate a detector that has learned to spot cars by looking at example pictures. It was trained with adiabatic quantum optimization using a D-Wave C4 Chimera chip. There are still many open questions but in our experiments we observed that this detector performs better than those we had trained using classical solvers running on the computers we have in our data centers today

For the looks of it D-Wave is totally a scam... NOT

Re:Oh no, not D-Wave. (2, Insightful)

pifactorial (1000403) | more than 4 years ago | (#30423112)

Yeah, my first thought was basically, "Ah, Google got a hold of them. That explains why they've been quiet for so long." It's kind of funny that even Google admits they don't quite know what's going on ("various institutions are still in the process of characterizing the chip"), but the fact that it actually, you know, works, has to count for something.

Re:Oh no, not D-Wave. (3, Insightful)

ldg (737814) | more than 4 years ago | (#30424692)

If you were to make a "quantum leap" that made quantum computing practical, it might behoove you to send mixed signals with your PR. You would want to attract the attention of a buyer who is: 1. aggressively seeking 2. able to pay for, and 3. able to roll out such technology; and you would want to be able to offer something like exclusivity to that buyer. But your public demonstrations would have reduced your competitors' R&D costs, by proving that such a thing is possible. If you "throw" your public demonstrations (make yourself seem like a sensationalistic liar), later you can more easily sweep away most credible evidence of your technology. But your truly motivated buyer will notice even your lame demonstration. Your buyer gets the technology, not in complete secrecy, but in relative, practical secrecy, because no public information about the technology is credible. With apologies to Karl Popper.

Re:Oh no, not D-Wave. (1)

jantangring (78094) | more than 4 years ago | (#30434498)

Of course, a much cheaper strategy that would work equally well in getting your hands on investment money, would be to skip the quantum research stuff, and jump directly to the sensationalistic lies.

Re:Oh no, not D-Wave. (1)

ldg (737814) | more than 4 years ago | (#30436386)

I agree that mere lies sometimes suffice to get what one wants. And I remember what John D. Rockefeller did when he learned his shoeshine boy was trading stocks. But D-Wave somehow got the collaboration of Google. Should we speculate that Google's collaboration is, in turn, another PR stunt? I won't discount that possibility, though personally I tend to give Google more credit than that.

If you have only part of a system, your only options are to publish or patent. If you have the whole system, trade secrets, and some degree of obscurity, may serve you better. And in an "information economy," in which attention, not information, is the scarce good, it is possible to hide something in plain sight. (This holds at least as long as information is growing faster than population!)

Admittedly speculation, and again, my apologies to Karl Popper (although his rules bind engineers less than scientists, if at all). While I have a degree in computer engineering and am an amateur futurist, I am not a QC researcher. For any valuable insights I must credit the 1992 film /Sneakers/ and my classmate who worries that game theory predicts that the first action of the first team to develop self-replicating nanobots (another disruptive technology) would be to assassinate its actual or potential competitors, including himself. :)

Re:Oh no, not D-Wave. (1)

OrangeCatholic (1495411) | more than 4 years ago | (#30429890)

>the fact that it actually, you know, works, has to count for something.

The Mechanical Turk worked really well for playing chess.

Re:Oh no, not D-Wave. (4, Insightful)

Interoperable (1651953) | more than 4 years ago | (#30423156)

Wait until all the data's in. I suspect this will revealed to be a coincidence; perhaps not, but I still believe that to be likely. In any case, search for D-Wave and have a read through the link I posted in my follow-up. D-Wave has made some completely incorrect statements in the past and a few out-and-out lies. Maybe they have pulled off what they claim, but there are some very valid doubts raised by the leading researchers in the field. They have certainly never proved quantum operation in a public demonstration.

From TFA:

Finally, we mention that the experiments presented here were not designed to test the quantumness of the hardware. Results of such tests will be reported elsewhere.

Wait until those tests are published in a public forum and are analyzed by experts (not ./ers) before assuming that they in any way have a quantum computer.

Re:Oh no, not D-Wave. (1)

JamesP (688957) | more than 4 years ago | (#30423270)

D-Wave has made some completely incorrect statements in the past and a few out-and-out lies.

Agreed

Maybe they have pulled off what they claim, but there are some very valid doubts raised by the leading researchers in the field.

I've read the link you posted, and IMHO it's looking good for d-wave (I mean, not "shining, will change the world tomorrow" but still not looking like a flat-out scam, especially with that audience)

Finally, we mention that the experiments presented here were not designed to test the quantumness
of the hardware. Results of such tests will be reported elsewhere.

Darn researchers that put the most important phrase of the article in the end!

Anyway, my guess is that QC is happening, but in a way they don't account for... (but that's just my IMHO guess)

Re:Oh no, not D-Wave. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30425066)

Perhaps they haven't published anything because Google won't let them? Ever think of that smart ass?

Re:Oh no, not D-Wave. (1)

bperkins (12056) | more than 4 years ago | (#30423172)

As the GP says, what D-Wave is claiming is pretty much not physically possible. And what they've demonstrated is possible to emulate with classical computers.

That Google is working with them is interesting. But D-Wave still looks exactly like an investment scam.

Re:Oh no, not D-Wave. (1)

OrangeCatholic (1495411) | more than 4 years ago | (#30429936)

Beyond D-wave being an investment scam, I still need a proper explanation of how quantum effects are going to speed up computers.

Just because a qubit can be in many places at once, can you actually measure it tho? Or will it decohere with the right answer? I'd love to have a calculator where I just press "equals" and it already knows the answer because it was programmed with the question. How do you do that?

In TFA, Google says to do a linear search on 1 million cells, the average physical time is 500,000 searches but quantum can do it in 1,000. As they say on SNL, "Really. Your quantum computer searches 1000 locations simultaneously? Hmm."

Re:Oh no, not D-Wave. (1)

Thelasko (1196535) | more than 4 years ago | (#30424384)

Yes, that post really implies that Google has access to one of these quantum chips, and has tested it. If this is true, this is HUGE news.

Re:Oh no, not D-Wave. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30422972)

How fortunate for Google that they have you to reveal the truth. I'm sure a multinational company specializing in information technology never thought of that.

Re:Oh no, not D-Wave. (1)

joe_frisch (1366229) | more than 4 years ago | (#30423928)

Google may be just making a high stakes gamble - they can afford it. D-wave appears to be a typical case of science meets marketing. Marketing wildly distorts the results - but that doesn't necessarily mean that there is no science.

Personally I'd be surprised if quantum computing can be made practical - quantum states are very fragile, but its not impossible.

Re:Oh no, not D-Wave. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30427846)

D-Wave has not made a digital quantum computer (or else, they would get a *lot* more attention). From what I understand, they have made some sort of quantum analog computer. Which would be useless for something like cryptography, but more or less ideal for fuzzy matching problems, like image matching.

Next on Google (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30422828)

Google SSL: Search for SSL keys, kindly recovered by Google using quantum computers.

Danger! Qubits will generate a black hole ... (0, Offtopic)

cpu_fusion (705735) | more than 4 years ago | (#30422834)

... if you use them to identify "goatse" !!!

Re:Danger! Qubits will generate a black hole ... (2, Funny)

Hinhule (811436) | more than 4 years ago | (#30423478)

The black part is just your mind cencoring the memory. ;)

Wel, There goes encryption... (1)

Oxford_Comma_Lover (1679530) | more than 4 years ago | (#30422860)

Well, there goes encryption. (To oversimplify. To quote an honest prof, "I was trying to decide between ease of understanding and truth." Disclaimer: My understanding too.)

Re:Wel, There goes encryption... (2, Insightful)

Oxford_Comma_Lover (1679530) | more than 4 years ago | (#30422890)

Apparently, there also goes... spelling...

(Ease bit: quantum computers tend to be specialized for particular algorithms, and we should be moving on to one-time pads anyway (Which are theoretically unbreakable absent social engineering or major design flaw), with some kind of automated exchange of random data whenever we physically visit our banks.)

Re:Wel, There goes encryption... (1)

Geoffrey.landis (926948) | more than 4 years ago | (#30422996)

we should be moving on to one-time pads anyway (Which are theoretically unbreakable absent social engineering or major design flaw

Unfortunately, the bad flaw of one-time pads is that they can be copied.

Re:Wel, There goes encryption... (1)

selven (1556643) | more than 4 years ago | (#30423052)

Can you please elaborate on this? Are you talking about people carelessly using one time pads twice? Or some other vulnerability?

Re:Wel, There goes encryption... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30423476)

OTPs have several problems, the most important one being that randomness is not easily created in the required quantities while maintaining the required quality.

Re:Wel, There goes encryption... (1)

harry666t (1062422) | more than 4 years ago | (#30424028)

How could OTPs help me encrypt my hard disks?

Mmm... (1)

Oxford_Comma_Lover (1679530) | more than 4 years ago | (#30425954)

I suppose one could sell hard disks with USB keys that contain random data matching a built-in datastore on the disk that one needs to access the disk or some-such; but OTPs are basically meant for encryption of communication, not local encryption of data. There are hybrid models and I'd imagine theoretical equivalence I won't think about right now. The classic example is embassy communication, where you don't want what you're saying to ever be decrypted. Have a courier deliver a DVD of random data, one of a pair, and you take a big technical risk out of electronic communication. (Obviously there are still social engineering and EM leakage issues.)

Re:Wel, There goes encryption... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30427918)

OTPs would be too cumbersome for HDD encryption, but a block cipher, which is what any HDD encryption is going to use currently, isn't vulnerable to quantum computing anyway.

"Quantum Computing" the next "Cloud Computing"? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30422866)

Will faux "quantum computing" become the next over-hyped marketing "strategy" of numerous vendors, much like "cloud computing" has become? Will we be subjected to endless presentations, advertisements, adverblogs, promotions and webcasts about how fantastic it is, even though it doesn't deliver on any of its promises?

I sure as fuck hope not. It's difficult enough already at my company just getting a simple web server set up. We spend more time fighting off idiot managers who insist we just use "the cloud" and the server will just magically happen.

Re:"Quantum Computing" the next "Cloud Computing"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30423392)

Well you can always use the electron cloud!

Re:"Quantum Computing" the next "Cloud Computing"? (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 4 years ago | (#30427152)

Well, you can always tell your company that the computers you plan to buy utilize quantum mechanics to do their calculation. And you'll not even be lying: The transistor, base element of any digital electronics, indeed is based on quantum mechanics.

Re:"Quantum Computing" the next "Cloud Computing"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30428412)

When I piss into the toilet it involves quantum mechanics. Do you think there's a market for a quantum latrine?

Re:"Quantum Computing" the next "Cloud Computing"? (1)

Deosyne (92713) | more than 4 years ago | (#30435016)

Sure, on ThinkGeek.com.

Re:"Quantum Computing" the next "Cloud Computing"? (1)

OrangeCatholic (1495411) | more than 4 years ago | (#30429988)

What about middleware? How's that one going?

I'll be damned if I even remember what it was. I think I wrote some of it though.

Uh... (1)

vistapwns (1103935) | more than 4 years ago | (#30422872)

That summary sounded like a sci-fi movie plot. I hope it works as they claim, that would be extremely neat. With all the money google has they should do serious investment in AI and nanorobotics, two technologies which could probably solve every physical problem (disease, aging, poverty, etc.) problems humans have. The government spends a few million but it's not enough, and it seems no one at the big corporations knows/gives a damn about this. O well, maybe one day.

Google oggles (1, Insightful)

HKcastaway (985110) | more than 4 years ago | (#30422884)

...to for Google to best look at the pictures in your drive.

DSL Fast (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30422962)

People out of work, banks folding, foreclosures all around. The speed of your damn servers does me no good if I can't afford broadband.

Our local library closed so I had to get a cheap DSL connection. And it is NOT cheap.

I literally cannot tell if they are serious. (3, Insightful)

Eric S. Smith (162) | more than 4 years ago | (#30423056)

I'm sorry, this looks like something that was thrown out of an early draft of Johnny Mnemonic:

adiabatic quantum algorithm by magnetically coupling superconducting loops called rf-squid flux qubits.

Not only can I not tell if they're serious, I can't even tell if that means anything.

The math they present, or even the math on the Wikipedia page for Grover's algorithm, is also completely beyond me. I blame Alan Turing for all of this: if he'd cracked Nazi codes with poetry instead of with math, I'd probably be able to understand computer science.

As it is, I have to assign a probability p=0.5 to Google posting another blog entry tomorrow in which they admit to making the whole thing up and being tempted to include a reference to "Cookie Monster's postulate" along side "Grover's algorithm".

Re:I literally cannot tell if they are serious. (2, Informative)

who knows my name (1247824) | more than 4 years ago | (#30423576)

if you did an undergraduate physics degree, I'd be surprised if you didn't know what all of those words mean. They can all be wikid (not sure I like that word)...

Re:I literally cannot tell if they are serious. (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 4 years ago | (#30427204)

They can all be wikid (not sure I like that word)...

I'm sure I don't like the word. A wiki is a general web site technology. Saying "to wiki" for looking up things at Wikipedia is like saying "to slashcode" for reading about things on Slashdot, because Slashdot runs on Slashcode.

Re:I literally cannot tell if they are serious. (1)

grcumb (781340) | more than 4 years ago | (#30424698)

The math they present, or even the math on the Wikipedia page for Grover's algorithm, is also completely beyond me. I blame Alan Turing for all of this: if he'd cracked Nazi codes with poetry instead of with math, I'd probably be able to understand computer science.

You have obviously never studied Ezra Pound [wikipedia.org] or T.S. Eliot. [tripod.com]

Re:I literally cannot tell if they are serious. (1)

OrangeCatholic (1495411) | more than 4 years ago | (#30430022)

>I'm sorry, this looks like something that was thrown out of an early draft of Johnny Mnemonic: adiabatic quantum algorithm by magnetically coupling superconducting loops called rf-squid flux qubits.

Isn't it nice not to have autism? The physics experts at the D-Wave convention wouldn't know. I like the guy who said "all those words have meanings." Yeah, but you have to try and make a sentence out of them.

Autism: When you can't see the forest for the trees.

Re:I literally cannot tell if they are serious. (1)

da cog (531643) | more than 4 years ago | (#30435694)

Amazingly enough, that phrase really does mean something. :-)

"adiabatic quantum algorithm" = algorithm that works by initializing a quantum system into a ground state and then slowly (== "adiabatically") changing the interactions of the system so that the final ground state contains an encoded version of the solution

"magnetically coupling" = the interactions between the "qubits" in the system are magnetic, which means that they physically want to "line up" (or anti-"line up") with each other just like regular magnets

"superconducting loops" = a conductive loop --- like a loop etched in a semi-conductor --- that has been made so cold that it is superconductive; currents going in a loop create a magnetic field that points through the loop whose direction depends on whether the current is clockwise or counter-clockwise, and the magnetic interactions mean that these "loops" tend to prefer to have their magnetic fields pointing in the same direction (or the opposite direction)

"flux qubits" = a qubit engineered from such a superconducting loop, whose "0" is the magnetic field going one way and whose "1" is the magnetic field going the other way; magnetic field passing through surface == "flux"

"rf-squid" = AC squid instead of DC squid, though I don't know enough to speak more precisely about the difference

Detail Search (3, Interesting)

nanospook (521118) | more than 4 years ago | (#30423076)

What would be really useful is if the software can "recognize" details about an image without a human doing so. E.g. Is a car, with red paint, certain model. Is a girl, white tshirt, nipples are showing, hair is in a bun, looks like a dancer, recognized as "this" individual, Then searchers can really search for images that fit patterns and find them.

Re:Detail Search (2, Funny)

ZeroExistenZ (721849) | more than 4 years ago | (#30423464)

Is a girl, white tshirt, nipples are showing, hair is in a bun ... Then searchers can really search for images that fit patterns and find them.

She's gone man, cherish the memory of that chick at the pool. No quantum computer will bring her back so you can "facebook" her :P

WOOT 7P (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30423102)

vit4lity. Its and distraction

Quantum Computing Days (2, Interesting)

Sleen (73855) | more than 4 years ago | (#30423126)

Hi, there are some excellent introductory lectures as an introduction to quantum computing here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I56UugZ_8DI [youtube.com]

Given by Hartmut Neven with a guest appearance from D-Wave on day 2. Watch all of the them including day 3!

Fascinating topic, though quickly delivered and worth further study and above all experimentation.

It awesome that google supports work like this.

Re:Quantum Computing Days (0, Flamebait)

gtall (79522) | more than 4 years ago | (#30423214)

What's "awesome" about Google supporting work like this? It doesn't inspire any awe that a company with money out the wazoo is spending some of it in blue sky research to keep themselves from being Binged.

Re:Quantum Computing Days (1)

Sleen (73855) | more than 4 years ago | (#30423952)

I think its awesome because google has a track record of doing and succeeding as opposed to doing and failing. Though that is entirely my viewpoint. Not everything they do works, but quite often it does and sometimes very well. I also don't think they have money out the wazoo. A few of the individuals perhaps, but google itself is expensive. The cost in energy per search is absolutely not an imaginary figure and it is directly exposed to the cost of energy as available in the municipalities they operate in like the Dalles, and the energy market itself which in the NW is up to I think a fifth non-oil generated, though more expensive. That cost per search is itself only one example of cost, and cloud computing in the now and future is hazy on who pays for the thermodynamics and heat of all those transactions. On the board is a mindset dominated by energy surplus which prevents any decision from necessity. But the marketplace for search hopefully will optimize despite the surplus, in pursuit of wealth or advantage perhaps. In absence of complete energy scarcity, there is nothing else to prevent searches...being as expensive as possible, except for the competition between multiple parties. Here the pursuit of wealth and success is essential and like individual liberty, the exact wind behind the back of system self optimization. But what about every other cloud service? What do you call all that smoke and the little tokes, you can't call them searches. But it all involves as it stands the mediation of essentially a SPACE HEATER. The kind of shit that keeps your ass from not being a block of ice in a shed in the winter watching skiiers go by and sometimes bite it hard at the end of the ramp. If you are lucky. I had one get all the way around once and head down the mountain. It was a dense pentameter that day. If these computers will not someday be space heaters, but computers that work ideally at very cold temperatures then we should support forward thinking and above all the activity of experimentation. Cheers Hartmut, D-Wave and Google!

Don't open that (1)

SEWilco (27983) | more than 4 years ago | (#30423450)

If only the thing would keep working after someone looks at the search results for "cat"...

finally (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30423724)

Finally some technology from google that is not some trivial extension of existing stuff...
I guess it will be long though, before we can expect our flying cars...

Re:finally (1)

OrangeCatholic (1495411) | more than 4 years ago | (#30430058)

Trivial extension? Google has taken everything on the desktop and re-written it for the web. It's not even an extension. They've undertaken a massive port.

Say good bye to RSA (1, Interesting)

phantomcircuit (938963) | more than 4 years ago | (#30424100)

If Google is capable of this what do you think the NSA and friends are capable of?

Re:Say good bye to RSA (3, Insightful)

Jeremi (14640) | more than 4 years ago | (#30424242)

If Google is capable of this what do you think the NSA and friends are capable of?

I'm confused -- I thought government was a bunch of hopelessly incompetent bunglers, capable only of wasting taxpayer money, stifling Free Enterprise, and making baby Atlas shrug. Does it turn out that they are super-elite technical wizards, after all?

Re:Say good bye to RSA (1)

White Shade (57215) | more than 4 years ago | (#30424748)

Wouldn't the real conspiracy be for the government to tell everyone about all the things they screw up, and keep all the successes on the down-low, so as to make everyone think that they simply are incapable of doing anything right?

Re:Say good bye to RSA (1)

OrangeCatholic (1495411) | more than 4 years ago | (#30430076)

It's been done, actually. Check out the fed computer system that never gets finished. Do you really think they would go 15 years without a proper update? Feds like their toys just as much as we do.

Re:Say good bye to RSA (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 4 years ago | (#30426398)

> I'm confused -- I thought government was a bunch of hopelessly incompetent
> bunglers, capable only of wasting taxpayer money, stifling Free Enterprise,
> and making baby Atlas shrug.

Only if you are "right wing". If you are "left wing" government is a bunch of hopelessly incompetent bunglers, capable only of wasting taxpayer money, knuckling under to the vile corporations, and making baby Marx shrug.

> Does it turn out that they are super-elite technical wizards, after all?

Just when doing evil.

Re:Say good bye to RSA (1)

dylan_- (1661) | more than 4 years ago | (#30429406)

> I'm confused -- I thought government was a bunch of hopelessly incompetent
> bunglers, capable only of wasting taxpayer money, stifling Free Enterprise,
> and making baby Atlas shrug.

Only if you are "right wing". If you are "left wing" government is a bunch of hopelessly incompetent bunglers, capable only of wasting taxpayer money, knuckling under to the vile corporations, and making baby Marx shrug.

I must have a quantum government, because they appear to be both at once!
(At least, until I observe them, then they suddenly appear to be hard working, honest folk who're only doing their best to improve their country...)

Re:Say good bye to RSA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30429686)

it's not either or; it's both. welcome to bureaucracy.

So, tell me if I get this straight... (1)

The Living Fractal (162153) | more than 4 years ago | (#30424154)

From what I've read, this is weakly analogous to an ADC.... Let's call it a QDC.

They've basically taken quantum interaction and converted or translated the interaction into a binary format. Like taking an analog sine wave and converting it into binary. Only much more complex.

The resulting 'trained' binary system runs conventionally, but is much better than anything someone would've written by 'hand'.

D-Wave's potential pitfalls (4, Informative)

da cog (531643) | more than 4 years ago | (#30424302)

The problem with D-Wave’s approach is that it is not clear how well it can scale. Their adiabatic strategy involves starting in the ground state of one physical system, transforming it into another system very slowly ( “adiabatically” == very slowly), and then hoping that they stay in the ground state all the way to the end of the procedure; if they succeed in this, then they can read out the new state and they have the answer that they want.

The problem is that this only works as long as it is hard for the system to bump itself up into an excited state. However, as you attack larger and larger problems, the “energy gap” between the ground state and the first excited state shrinks exponentially with the size of the problem, greatly increasing the probability that you won’t end up with the right answer at the end of the computation.

In order to get around this problem, you need to do two things. First, you need to cool the system down so that its temperature is less than the energy gap. However, D-Wave’s cooling system does not accomplish this --- their temperature is too high. In fact, they freely admit that their temperature is larger than the energy gap, it’s just that they are gambling that in practice they can get away with it.

Second, you need to run the transformation very slowly --- at a speed that is roughly proportionate to the size of the energy gap. This might also turn out to case problems for D-Wave as they start scaling up their system to attack useful problems. Furthermore, although they have demonstrated a case where their computer shows a speedup over classical algorithms, this should be taken with a great of salt because as I understand it they basically applied their algorithm in a case where conditions favored it. (Mind you, that isn’t in itself a bad thing --- it is good to understand the conditions under which an existing quantum computer can ever beat an existing classical computer; given the infancy status of the field, I amazed that this can be done at all!)

So in short: no, D-Wave is not a scam, but they are taking a gamble that certain theoretical problems will not bite them in practice, and most QC researches tend to believe that they will lose this gamble even though we hope that they will win it.

Re:D-Wave's potential pitfalls (2, Interesting)

pddo (969282) | more than 4 years ago | (#30426168)

Just out of interest - who is competing against D-Wave in this space?

Re:D-Wave's potential pitfalls (2, Interesting)

da cog (531643) | more than 4 years ago | (#30426246)

No one, really --- at least, none that I am aware of. Most of the technology is still very much in its infancy, so nobody else is making a big push to turn it into a product yet. Having said that, I suppose it is possible that the NSA has a secret quantum computer and is using it to break our codes even as we speak, though I don't know if that counts as an economic competitor.

Re:D-Wave's potential pitfalls (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30426424)

Disclaimer: i am from the QC field (not at D-Wave) but here i am yet another Anonymous Coward.

a) I consider it highly unlikely that the NSA has a secret quantum computer. All techologies which i know are 15-30 years from a working QC. i would believe if somebody tells me that the NSA has something which is 5 years more advanced, but not much more.

b) The field of QC is so patent-ridden that it should be easy for you to find out to whom d-wave is a competitor - and about multiple qubit interactions which are to be uses adiabatically i point to the IPHT Jena (i also am not working for them but they have collaborators with some earlier relation to d-wave). The only things on which -AFAIU- d-wave is leading are press releases, raised venture capital, number of well-filtered LF-control lines in their cryostate, and patenting everything they can get hold of.

c) Adiabatic QC was invented to overcome certain difficulties - or lets say "avoid" them. The price you have to pay fo the way in which d-wave does it is yet unknown, but they plainly restrict the Algorithms they want to perform to a well-chosen set of problems. Which -i think- is cool if they find an application for these algorithms; however it would be the task of scientific journalists to dig a little deeper and point the difference out. It is not D-Waves Job, a company looking for venture capital from time to time, to point out which *problems* and *misunderstanding* there may be in the public.

d) D-waves research has, in my opinion, two functions (i personally see that neutral), namely to have the control technology ready if somebody comes up with a working qubit and to strengthen their own big pool of patens so that everybody would have to make mutual agreements with them to be able to build a QC (it is my personal estimation that it is impossible to build a superconducting QC without hitting one of their patents).

e) I dont understand why d-wave causes so much stir in the qubit community. They usually fish in other pools of money, and what they publish in journals is sound. What they publish usually far diverging from their press releases, but everybody knows that press releases have to taken with a grain of salt. May it be the leader of the free world posing in front of a "mission accomplished" sign, the Chinese government telling you how good human rights are in the ten square meters on front of the camera or smiling bank managers who sit on tens on billions of bad loans.

Re:D-Wave's potential pitfalls (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 4 years ago | (#30427262)

(it is my personal estimation that it is impossible to build a superconducting QC without hitting one of their patents).

That's assuming the first working commercial superconducting QC appears before their patents expire.

Re:D-Wave's potential pitfalls (1)

da cog (531643) | more than 4 years ago | (#30427570)

a) I consider it highly unlikely that the NSA has a secret quantum computer. All techologies which i know are 15-30 years from a working QC. i would believe if somebody tells me that the NSA has something which is 5 years more advanced, but not much more.

I concur with your assessment on this; I was mostly kidding when I suggested the NSA might have one.

**Useful** quantum computing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30424338)

People have made fusion reactors powered by a 9-volt battery. Sure their a cheap neutron source - other than that they are pretty much absolutely useless. They will never power your toaster or ipod. They require many orders of magnitude more input power than will ever be recovered by resulting fusion reactions.

Making a functional quantum computer with a few qubits has been done by a number of groups. Unfortunately its also pointless as it will not gain you anything above a classicical electron pushing system. If you want better performance you should be looking at using optics or plasmons to replace todays painfully slow electron pushing circuts. They are much cheaper from an operational perspective as well when you factor in cryogenic cooling requirments.

Making a quantum computer with enough qbits in a single coherent operation to be a useful quantum computer (Breaking crypto, solving NP..etc) is extremely difficult - has never been done before (wink wink nudge nudge NSA) and may not even be possible.

D-Wave seems to be playing with 9-volt batteries while claiming to have a functional Mr Fusion.

Re:**Useful** quantum computing (1)

OrangeCatholic (1495411) | more than 4 years ago | (#30430106)

>If you want better performance you should be looking at using optics

Yeah whats up with that. It's like everybody just started ignoring the pretty girl. An optical computer would be phearsome.

I find it suprising that they are using it for... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30424618)

I'm surprised they are using the tech for image pattern searching. Wonder if they got any government grants also.
Still I'm glad google is actually trying to innovate instead of horde its money like some other companies I know.
Cough Microsoft.

Millions are now wondering. (1)

xactuary (746078) | more than 4 years ago | (#30424624)

Does Google own a cat?

Re:Millions are now wondering. (1)

BiggerIsBetter (682164) | more than 4 years ago | (#30426482)

Clearly it will need to be many, many cats.

Every time you do a search, Google kills a kitten. (Or not, depending on the result)

Re:Millions are now wondering. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30426790)

Google has a redundant array of interchangeable cats.

Schrödinger's lolcat (5, Funny)

RevWaldo (1186281) | more than 4 years ago | (#30425632)

Test User: OK, so what you're saying is that if I search for lolcats using Google's quantum image search, it will give me an array of lolcat images to choose from, but until I open the image we won't know if the lolcat is funny or not funny? That makes sense.

Google Scientist: Actually, before you look at the image the lolcat is in a state of superposition. Before your look at the photo it can be both funny AND not funny. By the act of you observing the photo it settles into one of those two states.

Test user: So there's a 50/50 chance of the exact same photo being funny or not funny?

Google Scientist: Essentially yes. Well, unless you go by the "many worlds" model, which states that if you look at the picture, you become entangled with the lolcat, so that the observation of the humor of the lolcat, and the actual humor of the lolcat are joined together. There will exist a universe where you find the image funny, and a universe where you find the image not funny, but these two universes cannot inform each other of these two different states.

Test User: I think I understand.

Google Scientist: Go ahead, click on one of the images from the search.

Test User: Now, you're sure nothing bad will happen? No black holes will open up or anything?

Google Scientist (amused): Yes, I'm absolutely sure.

Test User: OK, I'll try this one. [cheezburger.com]

(The user clicks the image.)

Test User: OH NOES! (faints.)

Google's quantum image analysis is people! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30427272)

Isn't it?

I was randomly clicking around the google image search, and now they have a "game" under beta where you and a randomly chosen partner try to name various features and qualities in as many pictures as you can in under 2 minutes. And then when you and your partner have matching names for a picture that aren't already used, you get points and move on to the next picture. I guess there could be a quantum factor in two random people agreeing on a discription when they have no other communication. I'd say using non-redeemable points (good for nothing other than bragging rights) is definitely a clever way of using crowd-sourcing the work for free in order to do a complex AI related task like image analysis.

I think it's not without some unintended side effects though. Any picture with more than one guy in it that doesn't have an obvious work/family/sports aspect seems to get labeled "gay". (And you can tell this because it's often on the list of words you can't use anymore.) I suspect this may have some humorous consequences if there's not enough forethought to adequately filter the quantum-crowdsourced analysis for (funny?) words that only seem useful for moving on to the next pic.

I'm also curious if the "two random people agreeing on random thing" with no other communication can be considered useful for other complex tasks requiring analysis. I would think so at least. Maybe something like protein folding might make faster progress if they could package it as a facebook game with a scoring system and all.

Re:Google's quantum image analysis is people! (1)

OrangeCatholic (1495411) | more than 4 years ago | (#30430140)

I'd love to know what protein folding does besides make money for drug companies. I know that protein folding is both extremely complex and important, but is the subject being researched or data-mined?

Re:Google's quantum image analysis is people! (1)

MattSausage (940218) | more than 4 years ago | (#30433390)

I played around with this a bit before, and I'm pretty sure you aren't playing against (or with) another person. Because it is an addictive little game. And going as fast as you can you get flustered and add odd things to pictures, or misspell words. And after a while (a week or two while bored at work) my 'partner' would start spouting my same crazy answers from days before, or misspell words the exact same way I did. I'm pretty sure they are just training their image tagging programs.

making stuff up (1)

FreakyGreenLeaky (1536953) | more than 4 years ago | (#30428564)

quantum bits — or qubits — encoded in magnetically coupled superconducting loops

You just can't make this stuff up.

important! (1)

SHaFT7 (612918) | more than 4 years ago | (#30430528)

Yes, but will it make me toast?
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?