Google and NASA’s Quantum Artificial Intelligence Lab

Google and NASA’s Quantum Artificial Intelligence Lab


JASON: Who was it that said if
you think you understand quantum physics, you don’t
understand quantum physics? [MUSIC PLAYING] ERIC: Consciousness,
intelligence– JASON: Free will,
determinism– ERIC: Blackholes, protecting
the planet from asteroids– MASOUD: Heisenberg uncertainty
principle– ERIC: Atoms, ion traps, nuclear
magnetic resonance, superconductors, photons– HARTMUT: Artificial intelligence, machine learning– JASON: Past and future,
classical physics, time travel, the whole thing. I can tell it’s going to get
very hot as I start speaking. So tell me if I start to
look really shiny. [MUSIC PLAYING] JASON: Quantum physics puts
everything into question. ERIC: It defies every intuition
you have about the natural world. PETE: Quantum is a very strange
regime of physics. JASON: Things can exist in this
state of superposition, where they can be ghosting on
each other– where they could be this and that at
the same time. VADIM: Entanglement. ERIC: Quantum entanglement. SUZANNE: Two objects, if they’re
quantum mechanically entangled, are still strongly
related to each other, even though they can be a vast
distance apart. HARTMUT: There’s a notion
of the multi-verse. There’s a whole family of
Hartmuts in different states. And they’re going through
different experiences and different life trajectories. MASOUD: The famous one
is quantum tunneling. ERIC: Tunneling. PETE: Tunneling. Tunneling. GEORDIE: Tunneling is the
slippage between universes. ERIC: For a long time, people
thought those effects only existed in the microscopic
domain. HARTMUT: Like atoms,
electrons, photons. ELEANOR: But really, it’s the
theory of our universe. ERIC: So if you want to build
a quantum computer, you want to incorporate those new
phenomenon into information processing. JASON: Maybe quantum computation
is one of those instruments that’s going to
allow us to see quantum effects at the human scale. REPORTER: Google and NASA have
teamed up to share one of the world’s first commercial
quantum computers. This machine, made by Canada’s
D-Wave, will be installed in a NASA research center
in California. [MUSIC PLAYING] JEREMY: This is the inside
of one of our dilution refrigerators. All of this infrastructure is to
basically operate the chip at a temperature that’s two
orders of magnitude colder than interstellar space. The processor is a
quantum computer. REPORTER: –but uses things
called cubits. As well as being either one or
zero, a cubit can also be both at the same time, therefore
bringing about a quantum leap in terms of power. JASON: Harnessing principles of
reality that are, up until very recently, completely not
observable by us is just fascinating in ways that I can’t
completely articulate. GEORDIE; The overwhelmingly
obvious killer app for quantum computation is optimization. JEREMY: Optimization
problems are extremely difficult problems. HARTMUT: Actually, all Google
server centers together will not be capable of coming up
with the best solution to these optimization problems
as they get larger. So now, what is an optimization
problem? Here, I’ll give you
an example. You want to do a trip through
South America and you want to visit a number of cities. And then you ask, what is the
cheapest ticket I can get to visit, let’s say, 20 cities? And you can, of course,
different routes and different airlines. And imagine I list all the
different options I have from different routes to travel
to these cities. ERIC: We currently, as a
civilization, generate vast amounts of data. It could be climate data,
genomic data. But it’s very difficult to
generate useful insights, oftentimes, from that data. HARTMUT: If you can solve
optimization problems better, you have an important resource
at your hand. SERGIO: I think, at least, it
teaches us that we shouldn’t be naive about the world, that
we shouldn’t think about the world as a simple machine. It forces us to consider more
sophisticated notions of how the reality around us is
actually [? set. ?] ELEANOR: I can’t ask it
how long I’ll live or the meaning of life. Really, we don’t know what
the best questions are to ask that computer. That’s exactly what we’re trying
to understand now. PETE: To me, the most important question is, are we alone? And I have a feeling that
quantum computers, as they mature, are going to help
us answer that question. HARTMUT: This is, of
course, a more long-term research endeavor. And there are still tremendous
obstacles and big questions. Some of those will be addressed
in D-Wave, some will be addressed at NASA,
and some at Google. ELEANOR: I wasn’t sure I would
be able to experiment with a quantum computational device
in my lifetime. And now, I’m confident that
I will be able to. GEORDIE: How amazing it is
that we, with our monkey heritage and monkey brains and
monkeys fingers, have somehow lucked into a brain that allows
us to ask legitimate questions about the nature
of physical reality. That’s so cool. JASON: It’s that human risk to
go forth into that unknown frontier, whether it’s space
exploration or quantum exploration. We do it because we must. We do it because that’s what
it means to be human.

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