Google and NASA are teaming up to construct a laboratory built around a 512 qubit quantum computer from D-Wave. The endeavor, known as the Quantum Artificial Intelligence Lab, will be used primarily for machine learning - a process that computers use to study and "learn" patters to better interpret and output data.

As the New York Times points out, such technology is extremely important for things like facial or voice recognition, biological behavior and the management of large, complex systems. Once installed, the USRA (Universities Space Research Association) will invite researchers from around the world to share time on the machine.

In a blog post to announce the partnership, Google director of engineering Hartmut Neven said if they want to create effective environmental policies, they need better models of what is happening to the climate. They believe quantum computing may help solve some of the most challenging computer science problems - tasks that classical computers simply aren't well suited for.

Google already has a head start heading into the project. That's because they have developed some quantum machine learning algorithms. One is said to produce very compact, efficient recognizers while another can handle highly polluted training data were a large number of examples are mislabeled - typical in the real world. What's more, the team has learned that you get the best results by mixing quantum and classical computing.

The system is being installed at the Ames Research Center and is expected to be complete by the third quarter of this year.