Google is teaming up with the University of California Santa Barbara to "design and build new quantum information processors."
The Quantum Artificial Intelligence team at Google is partnering with UCSB physicist John Martinis and his team on the effort, which will be "based on superconducting electronics."
Martinis and his team "have made great strides" in that area, Google director of engineering Hartmut Neven wrote in a blog post. Martinis was recently awarded the London Prize for his pioneering advances in the field.
Martinis told The Wall Street Journal that he will now be a joint employee of Google and UCSB, while a few members of his team will also join the search giant.
"With an integrated hardware group the Quantum AI team will now be able to implement and test new designs for quantum optimization and inference processors based on recent theoretical insights as well as our learnings from the D-Wave quantum annealing architecture," Neven said.
Google's Quantum Artificial Intelligence Lab, which launched in May 2013, is a collaboration between Google, the NASA Ames Research Center and the Universities Space Research Association (USRA). "We're studying the application of quantum optimization to difficult problems in Artificial Intelligence," according to the group's Google+ page.
Google will continue its collaboration with D-Wave scientists and experiments on NASA's "Vesuvius" machine. The lab houses a 512-qubit D-Wave Two from D-Wave Systems, a Vancouver-based company that first made headlines when it sold Lockheed Martin the world's first commercial quantum computer back in 2011.
Ultimately, the lab wants to accelerate computation on a massive scale, allowing researchers to better examine patterns in everything from weather systems to the stock market.
In July, Google co-founder Sergey Brin said Google hopes to one day develop "fully reasoning" artificial intelligence. But despite its acquisition of robot, satellite, and AI firms, the real-life Skynet is still a few years off. Computer scientists have been promising AI "for decades," and have not yet delivered, so it would be "foolish" for Google to put a hard date on when Google Now might become self aware, Brin said during a joint fireside chat with Google CEO Larry Page hosted by Khosla Ventures.
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