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Google is building its own quantum computer chip

Quantum Computing
Insane in the quantum computing membrane

Google is a curious web search company with its hand in everything from Android Wear smartwatches to robots. Now, Mountain View has set its sights on quantum computing.

Hartmut Neven, director of engineering from Google's Quantum Artificial Intelligence team, announced the lab is launching a hardware initiative to build new quantum computing processors using superconductors.

As part of the new hardware initiative Google will be teaming up with John Martinis and other UC Santa Barbara researchers. Together the two research groups will seek to create new designs for better-optimized quantum computer and inference processors.

The Quantum AI team also noted that Google will take big lessons from its continued collaboration with D-Wave. D-Wave has arguably been the poster child of quantum computing thus far, championing the new architecture despite its recent flop in a race with a regular PC.

Fringe tech

One of the big perks of quantum computing is it can complete complex tasks much faster and efficiently than a regular PC.

However, it's unlikely Google is researching quantum computing chips to launch its own line of PCs or become a competitor with Intel and AMD.

For one thing the technology is still prohibitively expensive and experimental for it to exist anywhere else but a test lab for now; after all, the quantum processor still needs to be kept at cryogenic temperatures with liquid nitrogen.

Rather, quantum computing so far has proven to be more useful for things like voice recognition in Google Now and, potentially, artificial intelligence. Now that Google is getting involved, this could be quantum computing's best bet for a real world application any time soon.

Kevin Lee

Kevin Lee is the Hardware and Roundups Editor at IGN Entertainment. Prior to IGN Entertainment, he worked at TechRadar.