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​What will NASA be doing with its new quantum computer?

​What will NASA be doing with its new quantum computer? | omnia mea mecum fero | Scoop.it
Earlier this year, NASA, in partnership with Google, acquired the world's largest quantum computer. But just what does the space agency plan to do with a device with such revolutionary potential?

 

NASA is currently looking at three very basic applications, including one that would serve as a day-planner for busy astronauts who are up in orbit.

 

"If you're trying to schedule or plan a whole bunch of tasks on the International Space Station, you can do certain tasks only if certain preconditions are met," he explains. "And after you perform the task you end up in another state where you may or may not be able to perform another task. So that's considered a hard optimization problem that a quantum system could potentially solve."

 

They're also looking to schedule jobs on supercomputers. And in fact, NASA Ames is responsible for running the agency's primary supercomputing facility. No doubt, at any instance of time they've got hundreds of individual jobs running on a supercomputer, while many others are waiting for their turn. A very difficult scenario would involve a job waiting to run — one that requires, say, 500 nodes — on a supercomputer with 1,000 nodes available.

 

"Which 500 of these 1,000 nodes should we pick to run the job?," he asks. "It's a very difficult scheduling problem."

 

Another important application is the Kepler search for exoplanets. NASA astronomers use their various telescopes to look at light curves to understand whether any noticeable dimming represents a potential exoplanet as it moves across its host star. This is a massive search problem — one that D-Wave could conceivably help with.

 

"These are the types of applications that we're trying to run," says Biswas. "We're doing it on our D-Wave system, which is the largest in the world, but it's still not large enough to solve the really hard real world problems. But by tackling the smaller problems, we can extrapolate to how a larger problem could be solved on a larger system." "But each of these images may be at a certain wavelength, and you may not get all the information from the image," he explains. "One of the challenges there is what's called data fusion, where you try to get multiple images and somehow fuse them in some smart way so that you can garner information from a fused image that you couldn't get from a single image.

 

And at NASA's Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley, Biswas's team runs the supercomputers that power a significant portion of NASA's endeavors, both public and commercial.

 

"We see quantum computing as a natural extension of our supercomputing efforts," he told me. "In fact, our current belief is that the D-WAVE system and other quantum computers that might come out in the next few years are all going to behave as attached processors to classical silicon computers."

 

Which is actually quite amazing. So in the future, when a user wants to solve a large problem, they would interact with their usual computer, while certain aspects would be handed over to the quantum computer. After performing the calculation, like an optimization problem, it would send the solution back to the traditional silicon-based machine. It'll be like putting your desktop PC on steroids.

 

"Just so we're clear, the D-Wave system is just one of many ways to leverage the effects of quantum physics," he told me. "But in order to use any quantum system, the first thing you need to have is a problem mapped in QUBO form." A QUBO form, which stands for a Quadratic Unconstrained Binary Optimization form, is a mathematical representation of any optimization problem that needs to be solved. At this time — and as far as we know — every single quantum computer requires that the input be in QUBO form.

 

"And that's a serious problem," says Biswas, "because there's no known recipe to devise a problem and then map it into QUBO form. But once we get a QUBO form — which is a graph representation of the problem — we can embed this onto the architecture of the D-Wave machine."

 

The D-Wave processors run 512 qubits which are made up of 64 unit cells. Each unit cell is made up of 8 qubits. And each qubit is made up of a bipartite graph, so there are four quibits on the left and four on the right. Each of the four qubits are connected to the ones on the right and vice-versa. But it's not a fully connected graph.

 

"So what happens therefore, is after you take your problem in QUBO form and you try to embed it into the D-WAVE machine it's not a universal quantum computer. It's not like you have computer keyboard and you can just tell the machine what to do." Essentially, the machine becomes dedicated to the task outlined by the QUBO form — a limitation that could impact scalability.

 

 


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Scott Gipson's curator insight, December 2, 2013 1:04 AM

       NASA partnered with Google earlier this year to acquire the world’s largest quantum computer. Quantum computers are different from digital computers based on transistors. While digital computers require data to be encoded into binary digits (bits), quantum computation uses quantum properties to represent data and perform operations based on these data. This article discusses the revolutionary potential of the device.

       Quantum systems have the ability to irrevocably change the way we go about computation. Unlike traditional silicon-based computers, these systems tap into the eerie effects of quantum mechanics (namely superposition, entanglement, and parallelism), enabling them to mull over all possible solutions to a problem in a single instant. According to physicist David Deutsch, a quantum system can work on a million computations at once while a standard desktop PC works on just one. These computers will help us find the most convenient solution to a complex problem. As such, they're poised to revolutionize the way we go about data analysis and optimization which include such realms as air traffic control, courier routing, weather prediction, database querying, and hacking tough encryption schemes.

        "Quantum computing has generated a lot of interest recently, particularly the ways in which the D-Wave quantum computer can be used to solve interesting problems. We've had the machine operational since September, and we felt the time is right to give the public a little bit of background on what we've been doing,” said Dr. Rupak Biswas, deputy director of the Exploration Technology Directorate at NASA's Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley.

        Biswas's team is currently looking at three very basic applications, including one that would serve as a day-planner for busy astronauts who are up in orbit. "If you're trying to schedule or plan a whole bunch of tasks on the International Space Station, you can do certain tasks only if certain preconditions are met," he explains. "And after you perform the task you end up in another state where you may or may not be able to perform another task. So that's considered a hard optimization problem that a quantum system could potentially solve."

        NASA is also heavily involved in developing the next generation of air traffic control systems. These involve not only commercial flights, but also cargo and unmanned flights. Currently, much of this is done in a consolidated fashion by air traffic control. But at later stages, when more distributed control is required and highly complex variables like weather need to be taken into account, quantum computing could certainly help.

       This article ties into Chapter 9: Business-to-Business Relations in our Case Studies textbook. “Tactics in business-to-business relations and partner relationship management help companies build productive relationships with other companies” (Guth & Marsh pg. 194). Considering what I’ve read in this article, so far the relationship between the two companies seems to be pretty productive. 

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The Rotating Moon - 60 Second Adventures in Astronomy (5/12)

Free learning from The Open University

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Scientists predict time will stop completely

Scientists predict time will stop completely | omnia mea mecum fero | Scoop.it

Time might feel like it is running away from us as the pace of life increases but according to scientists, the future will stop completely.

 

More about TIME:  http://www.scoop.it/t/science-news?tag=time

 

Full Article: http://goo.gl/14IE7

 


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[VIDEO] Earth's motion around the Sun, not as simple as I thought

Source: CassioPeia Project...

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[AMAZING VIDEO] The History of the Universe in 10 Minutes

A brief history of the universe, from the big bang to the origin of mankind.

 

ASTRONOMY: http://www.scoop.it/t/science-news?tag=astronomy

 


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Neil deGrasse Tyson’s most astounding fact adapted as a comic

Neil deGrasse Tyson’s most astounding fact adapted as a comic | omnia mea mecum fero | Scoop.it

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Faster-ticking clock indicates early solar system may have evolved faster than we thought

Faster-ticking clock indicates early solar system may have evolved faster than we thought | omnia mea mecum fero | Scoop.it
Our solar system is four and a half billion years old, but its formation may have occurred over a shorter period of time than we previously thought, say researchers.

 

Articles about ASTRONOMY: http://www.scoop.it/t/science-news?tag=astronomy

 

 

 


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How the Hubble Space Telescope's stunning colour images are created - video

How the Hubble Space Telescope's stunning colour images are created - video | omnia mea mecum fero | Scoop.it
Since its launch in 1990, the Hubble Space Telescope has captured half a million images – in black and white.

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[VIDEO] Narrowing the Search for Dark Matter

Scientists have further narrowed the search for a hypothetical particle that could be dark matter, the mysterious stuff that makes up 80 percent of all the mass in the universe. This video from NASA Astrophysics presents the new results, compiled from two years' worth of data from NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope.

Articles about ASTRONOMY: http://www.scoop.it/t/science-news?tag=astronomy

 


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[VIDEO] - The Detailed Universe: Cosmos Travel : This will Blow Your Mind.

ASTRONOMY: http://www.scoop.it/t/science-news?tag=astronomy

 


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[VIDEO] Window on the universe. HD

When darkness is at its darkest, a star shines the brightest...You want to know how big is universe,but you cannot imagine how largness is it. Data & animations from NASA & ESA.

 

Articles about ASTRONOMY: http://www.scoop.it/t/science-news?tag=astronomy

 


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Dark Energy Confirmed

Dark Energy Confirmed | omnia mea mecum fero | Scoop.it
Just 30,000 years after the Big Bang, the universe started singing. Vast soundwaves rang out and expanded through the primordial cosmos, their ripples determining the universe's large-scale structure. And this all fits perfectly with one particularly theory of dark energy. The Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey, or BOSS, has just completed a massive survey of a whopping 327,349 galaxies.

 

These galaxies are on average about six billion light-years away, which was quite possibly the most momentous time in the universe's history since the Big Bang itself. Six billion years ago, the universe reached a tipping point, where the matter in the universe became spread out enough that the force of gravity could no longer slow down the universe's attraction. Instead, the repulsive force of dark energy took hold, and the universe has been speeding up its expansion ever since.


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[VIDEO] - Voyager: Humanity's Farthest Journey

[VIDEO] - Voyager: Humanity's Farthest Journey | omnia mea mecum fero | Scoop.it

"We knew we were on a journey of discovery when we launched the Voyager spacecraft, but we had no idea how much there was to discover."


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NASA: Sun expected to flip its magnetic field upside down, reversing polarity

NASA: Sun expected to flip its magnetic field upside down, reversing polarity | omnia mea mecum fero | Scoop.it

The sun's magnetic field is about to flip upside down as it reverses its polarity. In August Nasa said the reversal would happen in three to four months time, although that it would be impossible to pinpoint a more specific date.

 

Solar physicist Todd Hoeksema from Stanford University said that the reversal would have "ripple effects" across the whole of the solar system.

According to Nasa the sun's magnetic field changes polarity approximately every 11 years. In comparison the last time the Earth's magnetic field flipped was almost 800,000 years ago.

 

The pole reversal happens at the peak of each solar cycle as the sun's "inner magnetic dynamo" reorganises itself. The exact internal mechanism that drives the magnetic shift is not yet entirely understood by researchers, although the sun's magnetic field has been monitored on a daily basis by Scientists at Stanford's Wilcox Solar Observatory.

 

This will be the fourth such shift that the observatory has monitored.

Throughout the 11 year solar cycle new polarity builds up as 'sunspots' which are areas of intense magnetic activity that appear as blotches near the equator of the sun's surface.

 

 

As to what effect this may have, scientists said it could be widespread. The sun's magnetic field exerts its influence in a wide space, known as the heliosphere. The heliosphere stretches well beyond Pluto and is as far reaching as NASA's Voyager probes close to the edge of interstellar space. During a magnetic flip the sun is also typically at its peak.

 

Another possible impact is that the sun's altered magnetic field could interact with the Earth's own magnetic field which could increase the number and range of auroras.

 


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The Known Universe by AMNH

The Known Universe takes viewers from the Himalayas through our atmosphere and the inky black of space to the afterglow of the Big Bang. Every star, planet, ...

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[AWESOME VIDEO] The Earth as You've Never Seen it Before: Atmosphere, Airglow and Aurora

A truly powerful image generates questions. The incredible night photos and time-lapse movies NASA has been sharing with us provoke questions about our planet.

 

Awesome movie! 

 


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Every black hole contains a new universe: A physicist presents a solution to present-day cosmic mysteries

Every black hole contains a new universe: A physicist presents a solution to present-day cosmic mysteries | omnia mea mecum fero | Scoop.it
Our universe may exist inside a black hole. This may sound strange, but it could actually be the best explanation of how the universe began, and what we observe today.

 

More on BLACK HOLES: http://www.scoop.it/t/science-news?tag=Black%20Hole

 


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Best Space Photos of the Week - May 6, 2012

Best Space Photos of the Week - May 6, 2012 | omnia mea mecum fero | Scoop.it
See amazing views of the Supermoon, a rubber chicken in orbit and more in the best photos for the week of May 6, 2012.

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[VIDEO] Why the solar system can exist

If gravity is so attractive, why doesn't the earth just crash into the sun? Or the moon into the earth?

The answer: Stable Orbits

 

Articles about SOLAR SYSTEM http://www.scoop.it/t/science-news?tag=Solar%20System

 

 


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'Time machine' will study the early universe

'Time machine' will study the early universe | omnia mea mecum fero | Scoop.it
A new scientific instrument, a "time machine" of sorts, built by UCLA astronomers and colleagues, will study the earliest galaxies in the universe, which could never be studied before.

 

Articles about ASTRONOMY: http://www.scoop.it/t/science-news?tag=astronomy

 


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[VIDEO] Hubble's Greatest Snaps

Here's Hubble's best year by year from HubbleCast

 

Articles about ASTRONOMY: http://www.scoop.it/t/science-news?tag=astronomy

 

 

 


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[VIDEO] Michio Kaku: Alien Life & Other Dimensions

Theoretical physicist Dr. Michio Kaku talks about life across the universe and the existence of other dimensions.

Articles about ASTRONOMY: http://www.scoop.it/t/science-news?tag=astronomy

 


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[VIDEO] The Sun; 3-Month Time-Lapse [720p]

This video is a complete time-lapse video of the Sun spanning the entire months of September, October and November 2011 as seen through the SWAP ultraviolet instrument onboard the European Space Agency spacecraft Proba-2


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[VIDEO] - Gamma-Rays Prove Einstein Right: Space-Time Is Smooth | Video

After 7 billion years of travel, high and low energy photons arrive at NASA's Fermi spacecraft a mere 900ms apart, suggesting that space-time isn't the bubbly foam of quantum theory but seems closer to Einstein's smooth rubbery membrane.

 

Articles about ASTRONOMY: http://www.scoop.it/t/science-news?tag=astronomy

 


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Birth of a Great Observatory

See this fascinating story from ESOCast


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