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Offline AshSimmonds

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Using 20,000 photographs of street scenes, half of which contained cars and half of which didn't, they trained the algorithm to recognise what cars look like by hand-labelling all the cars with boxes drawn around them.

After that training, the algorithm was set loose on a second set of 20,000 photos, again with half containing cars. It sorted the images with cars from those without faster than an algorithm on a conventional computer could faster than anything running in a Google data centre today, Neven says.

Classical computers use what is known as a von Neumann architecture, in which data is fetched from memory and processed according to rules defined in a program to generate results that are stored. It is pretty much a sequential process, though multiple versions of it can run in parallel to speed things up a little.

Quantum computers, however, promise much faster processing, by exploiting the principle of quantum superposition: that a particle such as an ion, electron or photon can be in two different states at the same time. While each basic "bit" of data in a conventional computer can be either a 1 or a 0 at any one time, a qubit can be both at once.


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