Google is building the world's fastest computer

September 3, 2014: 11:43 AM ET
google quantum computer
Google partnered with researchers at UC Santa Barbara to develop quantum computing hardware.
NEW YORK (CNNMoney)

Google is preparing to take computing to warp speed.

The internet search company announced a new partnership with researchers at the University of California Santa Barbara to develop "quantum computing" technology.

The science behind quantum computing is highly technical and still very theoretical. In simple terms, quantum computers make use of quantum bits, or qubits, to process information, as opposed to the binary system of ones and zeros used by traditional computer processors.

Scientists say qubits can behave like ones or zeros, or both. In theory, this should make quantum computers exponentially faster than digital computers that use a binary system to process information.

China is currently home to the world's fastest computer, the Tianhe-2 supercomputer, which is capable of nearly 55 quadrillion of calculations per second. A quantum computer could make that look like a snail.

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Google (GOOGL, Tech30) and UCSB say they will form a "quantum artificial intelligence team," which will continue to lay the groundwork for quantum computing.

The search giant has already been working with scientists at D-Wave Systems on a quantum computer system. D-Wave is developing what some call the first commercially viable quantum computer, the "Vesuvius." It is also working with NASA on a 1,000 qubit "Washington" processor.

Google has been branching out into emerging technologies, from self-driving cars and wearable devices to drones and satellites, as it looks for growth opportunities beyond its market-leading search business.

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