By Alejandro Freixes, CCNN Head Writer
Rockets, search engines, and computers, oh my! NASA, Google, and a company called D-Wave have joined forces, combining their technology and intelligence to create a futuristic ultimate computer that has freakishly powerful abilities. Artificial intelligence (AI) – machine “brain” power – can be found in a lot of the tech that surrounds us, from our smartphones to our iPads.
Now, however, companies are beginning to take a look at creating a very advanced form of AI, at the quantum level.
What do they mean by quantum?
Basically, quantum is something that’s super microscopic, like stuff that not even a microscope can see. While quantum physics study how the tiniest physical things in the world move, quantum computing tries to find ways of making technology on a very small level.
Ever wonder why phones and iPods keep getting smaller every year? That’s because computer engineers keep figuring out ways of jamming more powerful technology into a smaller space.
Normally, computers calculate things based on something called “bits”. Bits can have a value of one or zero, and putting a bunch of 1s and 0s together can help create programs. It’s like a light switch, where the 1 is the “on” position and the 0 is the “off” position.
However, quantum computers take it a step further, using something called “qubits” – a word that seems to have been created by smashing the words “quantum” and “bits” together. Where normal bits can only do things one at a time, like having to line up a bunch of dominoes one by one before you tip them over, qubits don’t have to follow the rules. They can just skip past all that, change direction, or do multiple tasks at once.
Let’s just hope that these rebel qubits that NASA, Google, and D-Wave are messing around with don’t lead to the world being taken over by machines. Otherwise, it might be us being used like dominoes!
Images courtesy of D-Wave Systems.