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A Quantum Trick with Photons Gives ML a Speed Boost

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Quantum on the brain.

Valeria Saggio and her colleagues at the University of Vienna in Austria have added a quantum twist to accelerate reinforcement learning.

Credit: Just_Super/Getty Images

Researchers at Austria's University of Vienna have accelerated machine learning using a quantum trick involving photons.

The experiment entailed having a photon traveling through a waveguide and ending up in one of four possible states, with artificial intelligence (AI) ensuring the photon ended up in one particular state.

In a classical setup, the AI would only be able to move the photon to one specific state at a time, and would be rewarded for making a correct guess.

For the quantum iteration, the AI could place the photon in a superposition of multiple states, and narrow to the correct answer before making a final, classical guess at the goal state.

The new approach expedited the AI's learning time 63%, from 270 guesses to 100.

From New Scientist
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