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Higgs Boson Uncovered by Quantum Algorithm on D-Wave Machine


This story is such a confluence of future tech that the headline actually manages to miss the fact the machine learning is the kind of algorithm which was used. This despite the fact that the article actually leads with it and takes a good few paragraphs to actually get to the physics.

Chris Lee at Ars Technica:

The important difference between the classical and quantum algorithms was the size of the training data set. For algorithms trained on around 200 collisions, the quantum algorithm significantly outperforms the classical algorithms. I think this is probably the more important finding. For very sparse data sets, we need to have machine learning algorithms that can learn from just a few examples.

Ars’ article is a pretty good summation, if you can get past the out of place machine learning scepticism which I’d leads and ends with. If you’re rather avoid that (and you have access), you can find the actual paper at Nature.

So to be clear, this is:

  • Machine Learning;
  • On a Quantum Computer;
  • To find the Higgs Boson.

That must be close to getting a line (or at least the corners) on a future technology bingo card.

As a mostly unrelated side note: If I ever write a Sci-Fi novel, the technology which allows the ship to travel faster than the speed of the light will have “Higgs” in the name. I have the hand wavey pseudoscience all figured out.