A first look inside Google’s futuristic quantum lab

In May, Google launched the Quantum Artificial Intelligence Lab with hardware from the Canadian quantum computing company D-Wave and technical expertise from NASA. It was an ambitious open research project aimed at exploring both the capabilities of quantum computer architecture and the mysteries of space exploration, but in the months since, they’ve stayed quiet about exactly what kind of work they’ve been doing there.

Now Google they’re breaking the silence with a brief short film, set to debut at the Imagine Science Films Festival at Google New York. The film takes a look at various researchers working on the project, as well as the computer itself, which has to be operated at near-absolute-zero temperatures. Researchers hope the quantum architecture will eventually be used to optimize solutions across complex and interconnected sets of variables currently outside the capabilities of conventional computing. That could allow for new solutions in computational medicine or help NASA to construct a more comprehensive picture of the known universe. “We don’t know what the best questions are to ask that computer,” says NASA’s Eleanor Rieffel in the video. “That’s exactly what we’re trying to understand.”

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