Google reveals the state of its quantum lab in short film

The multiverse, physicist Richard Feynman, lobsters, and quantum tunneling all make appearances in Google's short documentary about its Quantum Artificial Intelligence Lab.

The nature of how electrons, atoms, and photons interact and affect humans takes center stage in a new Google short film about research at the company's recently-unveiled quantum computing lab called the Quantum Artificial Intelligence Lab .

The 6.5 minute documentary, unnamed in a report from The Verge, will debut at 7 p.m. on Friday at the Google New York offices' Imagine Science Films Festival. The film, embedded above, will be on YouTube on Friday. A ticket to the festival costs $50.

The film highlights the collaborative nature of the lab and the people behind its unusual quantum computer, which relies on near-absolute zero temperatures to perform complex mathematical computations.

"Maybe quantum computation is one of those instruments that's going to allow us to see quantum effects at the human scale," said the technologist-philosopher Jason Silva in the film.

Researchers, physicists, and Google itself are hoping for different results from the lab. While the quantum computer may show NASA a more accurate model of the universe, and some theorize it could more closely tie medicine and mathematics, Google already has used results from the lab to improve human eye blink recognition in Google Glass.

The computer was built with technical assistance from NASA and parts from the Canadian quantum computing firm D-Wave. The lab itself is hosted by the Ames Research Center in Mountain View, Calif., and operated by the Universities Space Research Association.

Google told CNET that although the lab is currently closed because of the US federal government shutdown, the quantum computer is still accessible and working.

Update, October 11 at 2:09 p.m. PT: Adds comment from Google that the computer remains accessible and functional during the US government shutdown.

NASA's Eleanor Rieffel discusses the challenges of working on the many unknowns of the universe in the video. Screenshot by Seth Rosenblatt/CNET

 

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