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!
Computer model predicts how fracturing metallic glass releases energy at the atomic level
20.07.2018 | American Institute of Physics
What happens when we heat the atomic lattice of a magnet all of a sudden?
18.07.2018 | Forschungsverbund Berlin
A new manufacturing technique uses a process similar to newspaper printing to form smoother and more flexible metals for making ultrafast electronic devices.
The low-cost process, developed by Purdue University researchers, combines tools already used in industry for manufacturing metals on a large scale, but uses...
For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.
To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...
For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.
Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...
Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.
A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...
Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.
"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....
13.07.2018 | Event News
12.07.2018 | Event News
03.07.2018 | Event News
23.07.2018 | Science Education
23.07.2018 | Health and Medicine
23.07.2018 | Life Sciences