How AI and Quantum Computers Could Bring Massive Change

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Artificial intelligence and quantum computers are two very exciting frontiers. Every day it seems there is a new innovation. IBM, Google, and Microsoft race to create the most advanced quantum computers and push the boundaries of AI’s capabilities with projects like IBM Q and Google Brain.

Artificial intelligence and quantum computers are immensely intriguing frontiers. Both are marvels of modern computer science and sit at the bleeding edge of what’s possible.

How quantum computers will revolutionize everything

For decades, computer scientists have relied on bettering software to run increasingly complex programs. But, there are limitations to software optimization. Sooner or later, we’ll need more powerful machines to meet our requirements.

Quantum computers could help researchers help simulate complex biological processes. They could help decode encryption puzzles and map climate change.

With superpowered processors, quantum computers could redefine how we interact with fields as diverse as engineering, medical science, and geopolitics. Perhaps the most salient issue quantum computers could address is our ability to properly document, study, and use big data.

How quantum computing works

Every time I add a quantum bit to a quantum computer, I double the computational power,” Michelle Simmons, research head at the Centre for Quantum Computation and Communication Technology at the University of New South Wale explains. “If I could have 300 qubits, that would be more powerful than all the computers in the world connected together.”

We aren’t too far from a 300-qubit computer, either. IBM has already created a 50-qubit processor. Only a year ago, a computer with qubits in the teens was an impressive feat. The advance of quantum computers in many ways has already eclipsed itself.

This leads us to an important question: what could we do with this power today? What’s next for AI developers and quantum computer manufacturers? What could they jointly improve?

How quantum computing and AI will change big data

According to Northeastern University, we create 2.5 exabytes of data every single day. To put that number in perspective, that’s equivalent to about 90 years of HD Video. This massive daily production of data has generated a new field: big data.

What we could do with data collected from laptops, computers, phones, and wearable technology seems limitless. Big data means we have access to incredibly large data sets about everything from the number of emails sent on a particular day to how consumer behavior is affected by exercise.

Actually analyzing big data on a granular level is near impossible, however. Finding correlated data with big data is like trying to find a needle in a haystack. What’s more, certain patterns may not be obvious to research. We lose precious data in a sea of noise.

Big data is one of the areas in which the marriage of artificial intelligence and quantum computers shines. Powerful quantum processors would be able to handle massive data sets, and artificial intelligence could analyze big data on a granular level.

Researchers are already using artificial intelligence to analyze large data sets. One medical startup has used AI to expedite cancer research. More powerful AI could make these computations much more quickly and effectively.

Immense potential and immense growth

Simply put, if we want to run immensely powerful AI, we’re going to need a bigger boat. A bigger boat in the form of high-qubit quantum processors.

Quantum computers and AI also share another trait: exponential growth,” writes Tristan Greene for The Next Web. “Processors for quantum devices are measured in qubits, with today’s most advanced ones coming in at around 50 qubits. At this size they’re the equivalent to a supercomputer. At just 60 qubits, it would exceed the power of every supercomputer on the planet combined, and then some. Self-replicating AI, like Google’s AutoML, could — theoretically — scale with hardware advances to create algorithms far more complex than any human could, in order to harness the power of quantum computing.”


At present, a normal home computer wouldn’t have the ability to process large amounts of data at once. Quantum computers could have the capability of reaching into a database, instantly accessing all items at once, and deliver an analysis within seconds. With quantum computers, we could uncover patterns instantly.

What’s next for AI and quantum computers? It is truly hard to say what we should expect from two areas of research that are advancing at lightning speed. At present, it seems like the first area of research to be most impacted by the melding of these two subsets of computer science will be big data.

Artificial intelligence and quantum computers, once fused, will most likely improve each other — artificial intelligence tasked with improving quantum computing processes and vice versa. This means analysis of giant data sets will become more manageable, and perhaps, more efficient as time goes on and as these technologies progress.

About the Author

Contributed by: Anthony Coggine is a HR professional turned business analyst. He has spent more than 5 years as a recruitment consultant in a variety of industries, primarily focused on consumer technology and research. 


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