According to an article published in Scientific American, Google and NASA have now teamed up to purchase a 512-qubit quantum computer from D-Wave. The computer is called “D-Wave Two” because it’s the second generation of the system. The first system was a 128-qubit computer. Gen two is now a 512-qubit computer.
This does not mean the gen two system is merely four times more powerful than the gen one system. Thanks to the nature of qubits, it’s actually 2 to the power of 384 times more powerful (2384) than the gen one system. In other words, it out-computes the first D-Wave computer by a factor so large that you can’t even imagine it in your human brain.
According to Google and NASA, this computer will be tasked with research in the realm of “machine learning” — i.e. machines learning how to think for themselves. It’s not just speech recognition, vision recognition and teaching robotic Humvees with .50-caliber machine guns how to stalk and shoot “enemy combatants” on the streets of America, either: it’s teaching machines how to learn and think for themselves.