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This 2014 article saying that a Chinese team of physicists have trained a quantum computer to recognise handwritten characters.

Why did they have to use a quantum computer to do that?

Is it just for fun and demonstration, or is it that recognising the handwritten characters is so difficult that standard (non-quantum) computers or algorithms cannot do that?

If standard computers can achieve the same thing, what are the benefits of using quantum computers to do that then over standard methods?

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Handwritten digit recognition is a standard benchmark in Machine Learning in the form of the MNIST dataset. For example, scikit-learn, a python package for Machine Learning uses it as a tutorial example.

The paper you cite uses this standard task as a proof of concept, to show that their system works.

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