Artificial Intelligence On A Quantum Computer Demonstrated

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Superposition, where a quantum object can exist in two states at the same time gives a quantum computer the ability to out perform any conventional computer.

Quantum physicists have demonstrated this using small quantum computers crunching a handful of qubits to carry out tasks such as finding the factors of numbers.

Taking things a bit further, Zhaokai Li and his team at the University of Science and Technology of China have demonstrated machine learning on a quantum computer for the first time. Their quantum computer can recognize handwritten characters, just as humans can do, in what Li is calling the first demonstration of “quantum artificial intelligence”.

The team trained their machine to recognize the difference between a handwritten 6 and a handwritten 9.

Additionally, last year, a team of quantum theorists devised a quantum algorithm that solves this kind of machine learning problem in logarithmic time rather than polynomial time. That’s a vast speed up. Their work was entirely theoretical.

The quantum computing machines consists of a small vat of the organic liquid carbon-13-iodotrifluroethylene, a molecule consisting of two carbon atoms attached to three fluorine atoms and one iodine atom.

This molecule is handy because each of the three fluorine atoms and the carbon-13 atom can store a single qubit. Because each nucleus sits in a slightly different position in the molecule, each can be addressed by slightly different frequencies, a process known as nuclear magnetic resonance.

>The spins can also be made to interact with each other so that the molecule acts like a tiny logic gate when zapped by a carefully prepared sequence of radio pulses. In this way the molecule processes data. And because the spins of each nucleus can exist in a superposition of spin up and spin down states, the molecule acts like a tiny quantum computer.

>Having processed the quantum information, physicists read out the result by measuring the final states of all the atoms. Because the signal from each molecule is tiny, physicists need an entire vat of them to pick up the processed signal. In this case, an upward peak in the spectrum from the carbon-13 atom indicates the character is a 6 while a downward peak indicates a 9.

>That’s an interesting result for artificial intelligence and more broadly for quantum computing. It demonstrates the potential for quantum computation, not just for character recognition, but for other kinds of big data challenges. “This work paves the way to a bright future where the Big Data is processed efficiently in a parallel way provided by quantum mechanics,” say the team.


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“Artificial Intelligence On A Quantum Computer Demonstrated”