(VentureBeat) Cambridge Quantum Computing (CQC) hiring Stephen Clark as head of AI last week could be a sign the company is boosting research into ways quantum computing could be used for natural language processing.
The addition of Clark to CQC’s team signals the company will be shifting some of its research and development efforts toward quantum natural language processing (QNLP). Humans are good at composing meanings, but this process is not well understood. Recent research established that quantum computers, even with their current limitations, could learn to reason with the uncertainty that is part of real-world scenarios. “We do not know how we compose meaning, and therefore we have not been sure how this process can be carried over to machines/computers,” CQC cEO Ilyas Khan said.
QNLP could enable grammar-aware representation of language that makes sense of text at a deeper level than is currently available with state-of-the-art NLP algorithms like Bert and GPT 3.0. The company has already demonstrated some early success in representing and processing text using quantum computers, suggesting that QNLP is within reach.
Clark was previously senior staff research scientist at DeepMind and led a team working on grounded language learning in virtual environments. He has a long history with CQC chief scientist Bob Coecke, with whom he collaborated 15 years ago to devise a novel approach for processing language. That research stalled due to the limitations of classical computers. Quantum computing could help address these bottlenecks, and there are plans to continue that research program, Clark said in a statement.