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article imageHas quantum artificial life been created?

By Tim Sandle     Dec 5, 2018 in Science
A model of quantum artificial life on a quantum computer has been developed. This could mean, in the future, machine learning, artificial intelligence and artificial life will be combined on a quantum scale.
Scientists from the University of the Basque Country have developed a quantum biomimetic protocol. This model reproduces the process of Darwinian evolution, adapted to the language of quantum algorithms and quantum computing. Biomimetics is the imitation of the models, systems, and elements of nature for the purpose of solving complex human problems.
The model is where simple artificial organisms could be capable of experiencing the phases of life, as would be understood from a biological perspective, within a controlled virtual environment. Here with a quantum computer it would be possible to run an artificial life protocol. This protocol would encodes quantum behaviors similar to those of living systems, including self-replication, mutation, interaction between individuals, birth and death.
To test out the model, the researchers ran an experiment on an IBM ibmqx4 cloud quantum computer, as an early proof-of-concept prototype. While it has been possible to create artificial life inside computers, standard software takes a classical, Newtonian approach in producing these models. This means step by step, with logical progressions. However, the real world is more complex and varied. As Science Alert puts it, adding "a dab of quantumness to the mix – strange phenomena happening at the micro and macro level."
The new research set out to add a level of unpredictability to computer simulations. For this, the researchers recreated a natural selection environment within which individuals, replication, mutation, interacted with other individuals and the environment, and a state equivalent to death.
The researchers write: "We thought it would be interesting to create systems capable of emulating certain properties exclusive of living entities. In other words, we were seeking to design quantum information protocols whose dynamics were analogous to these properties."
The study paves the way for future research about the relationship between quantum mechanics and the origins of life. The model has been discussed in a research paper, published in Nature Scientific Reports. The paper is titled "Quantum Artificial Life in an IBM Quantum Computer."
More about quantum computing, Artificial, Life, quantum artificial life
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