Thank you for visiting nature.com. You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain
the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in
Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles
Ordinary computers can perform machine learning by comparing mathematical representations of data. An experiment demonstrates how quantum computing could use quantum-mechanical representations instead.
Machine learning and quantum computing have their staggering levels of technology hype in common. But certain aspects of their mathematical foundations are also strikingly similar. In a paper in Nature, Havlíček et al.1 exploit this link to show how today’s quantum computers can, in principle, be used to learn from data — by mapping data into the space in which only quantum states exist.