Friday, February 14, 2014

Time magazine on quantum computer

Lev Grossman, best known for novels on magicians, wrote the Time cover story on quantum computers
The Quantum Quest for a Revolutionary Computer
Quantum computing uses strange subatomic behavior to exponentially speed up processing. It could be a revolution, or it could be wishful thinking

The article is behind a paywall, but you can read it here, and read criticism.
At least the article does cite skeptics:
Another challenge rose and company face is there is a small but nonzero number of academic physicists and computer scientists who think they are partly or completely full of shit.
The print edition says "sh-t", which must be unusual for that magazine.

The term "quantum computer" does not just mean a computer that uses quantum mechanics. All electronic computers use quantum mechanics. A quantum computer must has some quantum speedup, where computations on entangled bits can scale up to a faster-than-Turing computer.

Claiming a quantum computer is like claiming to use dark energy for a perpetual motion machine. You can argue that experiment has shown dark energy to be there, and that theory says that it is inexhaustible, and that exploitation is just a matter of developing the technology, but you have to face the fact that no one has ever violated energy conservation or extracted any dark energy.

Likewise, no one has ever succeeded in getting any quantum speedup in a calculation. All attempts have failed.

I do'nt blame Time magazine for this silly hype. The author tried to write a balanced story. I blame the physicists for pretending that they can do the impossible.

1 comment:

  1. The only thing that allows quantum computing to function is government research money fertilized by plenty of bullshit. Let me make a prediction: By the time the tax payers are made aware of just how many millions or billions have been wasted on this boondoggle and start to cut funding, the 'entrepreneurs' will have moved on to some other lucrative du jour science con-job, which will also by some coincidence be funded by government money as well.