IT/Web: December 2015 Archives

Why Google's new quantum computer could launch an artificial intelligence arms race, Washington Post

"Ever since the 1980s, researchers have been working on the development of a quantum computer that would be exponentially more powerful than any of the digital computers that exist today. And now Google, in collaboration with NASA, says it has a quantum computer the D-Wave 2X that actually works. Google claims the D-Wave 2X is 100 million times faster than any of today's machines. As a result, this quantum computer could theoretically complete calculations within seconds to a problem that might take a digital computer 10,000 years to calculate. That's particularly important, given the difficult tasks that today's computers are called upon to complete and the staggering amount of data they are called upon to process. On the surface, the D-Wave 2X represents not just a quantum leap for computing, but also for the field of artificial intelligence. In fact, Google refers to its work being carried out at NASA's Ames Research Center as "quantum artificial intelligence." That's because machine learning problems that today are too hard or too complex for computers could be solved almost instantaneously in the future."

5 things you should know about the plan to open source artificial intelligence, Washington Post

"Arguably, the open source movement the idea that a group of technologists freely contributing their own work and commenting on the work of others, can create a final product that is comparable with anything that a commercial enterprise might create has been one of the great innovation catalysts of the technology industry. It's no wonder, then, that a group of Silicon Valley luminaries including Elon Musk, Peter Thiel and Reid Hoffman have lined up to contribute $1 billion to a new open-source AI project known as OpenAI that is led by Ilya Sutskever, one of the world's top experts in machine learning. If you can open-source software and hardware, then why not open-source artificial intelligence, right?"

Keith's note: There is a NASA-sponsored event called #BioSpaceBigThink underway. According to @Astro_Cady "It's all about the future. Spent my 55th birthday kicking off #BioSpaceBigThink for #JourneyToMars for @NASA!" OK, so what is she so exited about? There is nothing online at's calendar about this event - how to attend, what the program is and how it has anything to do with #JourneyToMars except that it has a picture of Mars and an astronaut in attendance. This event is apparently being run by @secondmuse which claims to be an "innovation agency" (whatever that is). SecondMuse runs the somewhat mysterious thing (a White House pet project of sorts) - so maybe that's the connection. I have asked about NASA and before but the CIO office never responds. There is a NASA logo on this #BioSpaceBigThink event so one would assume NASA is paying for it (they pay NASA staff to do stuff).

This #BioSpaceBigThink crowd is the same group who did something called NASADatanauts recently which @BethBeck at NASA's CIO office organized under the radar. Again, there was no mention of that #NASADatanauts thing on NASA's calendar, no press release, agenda, etc. Truth is - these are just playtime events for the digerati and special friends of the CIO - things that have nothing to do with any established NASA strategy - nor do they ever produce a deliverable - tangible or otherwise - such that they can have an impact on the rest of the country. But its all about #JourneyToMars, right? - so its OK.



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