Is AI used in quantum computers?

Quantum computingThe marriage between artificial intelligence and quantum computers

"Quantum computing is very abstract for a lot of people - an academic thing that sounds super good. And there are a lot of rumors about what quantum computing can do and that it is such a superpower."

Rumors are sometimes exaggerated - but there is a lot to be said about the quantum computer: In fact, it could perform certain arithmetic operations much faster than the best supercomputer today, says Stefanie Barz, physics professor at the University of Stuttgart. It seems particularly predestined for computationally intensive tasks - perhaps also for some artificial intelligence algorithms?

Not all AI algorithms are suitable for quantum computers

"The idea is that certain artificial intelligence applications require high computing power and that classic computers can reach their limits. And the idea is that we take quantum algorithms and thus enable processes with which classic computers could possibly reach the limit. "

To what extent can quantum computers and artificial intelligence marry together? Barz wants to sound out this question in a 19 million euro project in which various industrial partners are also involved. The problem: today's AI algorithms cannot be transferred directly to the quantum level. Because a quantum computer works very differently than a PC.

"Quantum computers work with so-called qubits. Where a classic bit can be in the state zero and one, a qubit can be in the so-called superposition. In principle, it can assume an infinite number of states at the same time. I can't just take a classic algorithm and can say it : I'm going to rewrite it now. Instead, I have to develop completely new algorithms for quantum computers. "

First of all, there are fundamental questions to be answered: What kind of AI algorithms could be suitable for the quantum computer at all, and which are not? In any case, Stefanie Barz has a few ideas.

"The first thing you think of is optimization problems, for example optimization of networks. The second is an application where you can do anomaly detection. When you think of a traffic problem and need to recognize whether a situation is normal or not - these are applications, where there are quantum algorithms that are thought to be of benefit. "

So far there is no functioning quantum computer

The companies are very interested, says Barz, and this is shown by the large number of project partners. But there is one catch: there is still no real quantum computer on the market. There are only laboratory prototypes with so far limited performance.

"That is a very sensitive point."

Says Maria guilty, she too is working on the amalgamation of AI and quantum computers at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa. To test whether an AI algorithm is running on a quantum computer, her team depends primarily on mathematical studies and computer simulations, in which an ordinary computer pretends to be a quantum computer. Sounds a bit like dry swimming exercises.

"Yes, but it doesn't feel like that at all. You have many ways of describing these things. It doesn't feel like dry swimming. But it's still a big challenge."

Among other things, Schuld is working on the following question: Should the entire AI algorithm run on the quantum computer, or only the particularly time-consuming calculation steps?

"There is software where you can combine the machine learning software with quantum computing simulators and then run a few parts of it on the quantum computer in the background."

In any case, one thing is clear: the field is still in the discovery phase. The marriage between quantum computers and artificial intelligence needs to be well prepared.