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Quantum Computer Learns to 'See' Trees


Satellite photos of California landscapes (top); in green, what the D-Wave recognized as trees (bottom).

Scientists have trained a quantum computer to recognize trees.

Credit: E. Boyda, et. al.

St. Mary's College researchers trained a quantum computer to recognize trees, a breakthrough they say could help scientists use other quantum systems for complicated machine-learning problems such as pattern recognition and computer vision.

The researchers fed hundreds of U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration satellite images into a D-Wave 2X processor, which contains 1,152 qubits, to determine whether clumps of pixels were trees and not roads, buildings, or rivers. The researchers then told the computer whether its classifications were right or wrong so the system could learn from its mistakes, altering the formula it uses to determine whether something is a tree.

Following the training, the system was 90% accurate in recognizing trees in aerial photographs of Mill Valley, CA.

The results demonstrate how researchers can program quantum computers to analyze images, and could lead to the possibility of using them to solve other complex problems.

From Science
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