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Quantum Computers Could Help Search Engines Keep Up With Internet’s Growth

USC News (06/12/12) Robert Perkins

 University of Southern California (USC) researchers have demonstrated the feasibility of using quantum computers to accelerate the process of executing a search engine’s page-ranking algorithm.  “This work is about trying to speed up the way we search on the Web,” says USC’s Daniel Lidar.  Quantum computers use quantum bits, which can encode a one and a zero at the same time.  This property, called superposition, is expected to eventually enable quantum computers to perform certain calculations much faster than traditional computers.  Although quantum computers are not available yet to run Google’s page-ranking algorithm, the USC researchers generated models of the Web that simulated a few thousand Web pages in order to demonstrate how a quantum computer might perform.  The simulation showed that a quantum computer could return the ranking of the most important pages in the Web faster than traditional computers, and that this quantum acceleration would improve as more pages needed to be ranked.

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