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Quantum bits: Intel unveils cryogenic chip

Intel's new quantum chip
Stefano Pellerano, principal engineer at Intel Labs, holds the cryogenic control chip known as Horse Ridge. (Intel Photo / Walden Kirsch)

MicrosoftAmazon and Google aren’t the only companies making headway in quantum computing. Intel is showing off a new type of chip for processing qubits, D-Wave Systems is getting a new CEO, and IBM is gearing up for quantum-safe cryptography.

Get a quick scan of the quantum frontier on GeekWire.

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Why tech titans are leaping into quantum computing

D-Wave computer
A team member at D-Wave Systems, based in Burnaby, B.C.,, works on the dilution refrigerator system that cools the processors in the company’s quantum computer. (D-Wave Systems Photo)

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The small world of quantum physics is a big deal on the frontier of computer science.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella rates quantum computing as one of three key technologies that will shape his company’s future, along with artificial intelligence and mixed reality. Google and NASA are working with D-Wave Systems to blaze a quantum trail. IBM has its Q initiative, and Boeing’s newly formed Disruptive Computing & Networks unit is targeting quantum as well.

There’s been a White House summit on quantum information science, and Congress is considering legislation that’d give quantum computing a $1.3 billion boost over the next 10 years.

What’s going on?

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IBM and MIT partner up to boost AI research

Image: IBM Watson
IBM’s Watson AI software is best-known for winning at “Jeopardy!” in 2011. (Credit: IBM)

IBM is making a 10-year, $240 million investment in artificial intelligence research through a new lab it’s creating in partnership with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

The investment will support research by IBM and MIT scientists at the newly created MIT-IBM Watson AI Lab in Cambridge, Mass., the two partners announced today.

“Through this collaboration, we will target innovations that will move us beyond specialized tasks to more general approaches to solving more complex problems, with the added capability of robust, continuous learning,” Dario Gil, IBM Research’s vice president of AI and IBM Q, said in a blog post.

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IBM’s Watson makes AI trailer about AI movie

Image: Morgan
IBM’s Watson AI software selected creepy moments for a trailer touting the AI thriller “Morgan,” including this close-up of the Morgan AI. How meta! (Credit: 20th Century Fox / IBM)

Experts may reassure us that artificial intelligence won’t take over the world anytime soon – but they just might invade the multiplex.

At least that’s the plot developing at IBM, where the Watson artificial-intelligence team programmed a computer to come up with a scary trailer for “Morgan,” a thriller about a genetically modified, AI-enhanced super-human.

GeekWire’s crack team of movie critics gave “Morgan” an average grade of C – but I have to say Watson’s trailer gave me the creeps. Maybe it’s the way short cuts are spliced together to create a sense of ominousness without revealing what the heck is going on. Maybe it’s the eerie music. Or maybe it’s just knowing that a faceless piece of software helped create it.

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