(WSJ) Alphabet Inc.’s Google plans to spend several billion dollars to build a quantum computer by 2029 that can perform large-scale business and scientific calculations without errors, said Hartmut Neven, a distinguished scientist at Google who oversees the company’s Quantum AI program. The company recently opened an expanded California-based campus focused on the effort, he said.
Chief Executive Sundar Pichai announced the timeline and introduced the new Google Quantum AI campus in Santa Barbara County on Tuesday at Google’s annual developer conference. Google’s new Quantum AI campus is an expansion of its experimental lab space. Many of its researchers have ties to the University of California, Santa Barbara. The campus includes a quantum-data center, research labs and chip-fabrication facilities spanning several buildings, one of which features colorful stained-glass artwork made by a California-based artist.
A commercial-grade quantum computer doesn’t yet exist, but eventually it could solve some problems many millions of times faster than a conventional computer.
Google is interested in many potential uses for the technology, such as building more energy-efficient batteries, creating a new process of making fertilizer that emits less carbon dioxide and speeding up training for machine-learning, a branch of artificial intelligence, Dr. Neven said.
For those and other use cases, Google says it will need to build a 1-million-qubit machine capable of performing reliable calculations without errors. Its current systems have less than 100 qubits.