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Original author: 
John Timmer


The D-Wave Two.

D-Wave

D-Wave's quantum optimizer has found a new customer in the form of a partnership created by Google, NASA, and a consortium of research universities. The group is forming what it's calling the Quantum Artificial Intelligence Lab and will locate the computer at NASA's Ames Research Center. Academics will get involved via the Universities Space Research Association.

Although the D-Wave Two isn't a true quantum computer in the sense the term is typically used, D-Wave's system uses quantum effects to solve computational problems in a way that can be faster than traditional computers. How much faster? We just covered some results that indicated a certain class of problems may be sped up by as much as 10,000 times. Those algorithms are typically used in what's termed machine learning. And machine learning gets mentioned several times in Google's announcement of the new hardware.

Machine learning is typically used to allow computers to classify features, like whether or not an e-mail is spam (to use Google's example) or whether or not an image contains a specific feature, like a cat. You simply feed a machine learning system enough known images with and without cats and it will identify features that are shared among the cat set. When you feed it unknown images, it can determine whether enough of those features are present and make an accurate guess as to whether there's a cat in it. In more serious applications machine learning has been used to identify patterns of brain activity that are associated with different visual inputs, like viewing different letters.

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Building Intelligent Computer Systems: Richard Gordon at TEDxOverlandPark

Richard T. Gordon has a PhD in physics and has spent his career working on complex problems affecting business, the environment and the nation's computer infrastructure. He is a specialist in machine learning, data analysis and the limits of predictability of systems. Richard has published over 20 peer reviewed research papers including work on climate change, dynamic processes in the human brain, intelligent computer systems and cyber security. One of the principals in developing the models used by the financial industry to determine risk and exposure from catastrophes, his latest work is focused on the development of intelligent computer systems to protect critical cyber infrastructure from the complex cyber attacks that can be launched by rogue nations, terrorist groups and organized crime. Richard has been quoted or profiled Scientific American, Fortune Magazine, The Journal of Commerce and The Scientist. In thespirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized.* (*Subject to certain rules and regulations)
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