Most people don't think twice about how Internet search engines work. You type in a word or phrase, hit enter, and poof – a list of web pages pops up, organized by relevance.
Behind the scenes, a lot of math goes into figuring out exactly what qualifies as most relevant web page for your search. Google, for example, uses a page ranking algorithm that is rumored to be the largest numerical calculation carried out anywhere in the world. With the web constantly expanding, researchers at USC have proposed – and demonstrated the feasibility – of using quantum computers to speed up that process.
"This work is about trying to speed up the way we search on the web," said Daniel Lidar, corresponding author of a paper on the research that appeared in the journal Physical Review Letters on June 4.
As the Internet continues to grow, the time and resources needed to run the calculation – which is done daily – grow with it, Lidar said.
Lidar, who holds appointments at the USC Viterbi School of Engineering and the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, worked with colleagues Paolo Zanardi of USC Dornsife and first author Silvano Garnerone, formerly a postdoctoral researcher at USC and now of the University of Waterloo, to see whether quantum computing could be used to run the Google algorithm faster.
As opposed to traditional computer bits, which can encode distinctly either a one or a zero, quantum computers use quantum bits or "qubits," which can encode a one and a zero at the same time. This property, called superposition, some day will allow quantum computers to perform certain calculations much faster than traditional computers.
Currently, there isn't a quantum computer in the world anywhere near large enough to run Google's page ranking algorithm for the entire web. To simulate how a quantum computer might perform, the researchers generated models of the web that simulated a few thousand web pages.
The simulation showed that a quantum computer could, in principle, return the ranking of the most important pages in the web faster than traditional computers, and that this quantum speedup would improve the more pages needed to be ranked. Further, the researchers showed that to simply determine whether the web's page rankings should be updated, a quantum computer would be able to spit out a yes-or-no answer exponentially faster than a traditional computer.
This research was funded by number of sources, including the National Science Foundation, the NASA Ames Research Center, the Lockheed Martin Corporation University Research Initiative program, and a Google faculty research award to Lidar.
Robert Perkins | EurekAlert!
Study offers new theoretical approach to describing non-equilibrium phase transitions
27.04.2017 | DOE/Argonne National Laboratory
SwRI-led team discovers lull in Mars' giant impact history
26.04.2017 | Southwest Research Institute
More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.
Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...
Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.
"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...
The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.
Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...
The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...
Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.
Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...
20.04.2017 | Event News
18.04.2017 | Event News
03.04.2017 | Event News
27.04.2017 | Life Sciences
27.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
27.04.2017 | Earth Sciences