Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Quantum computing compared to Goddard rockets

Slashdot reports:
If quantum computing is at the Goddard level that would be a good thing for quantum computing. This means that the major fundamental breakthrough that would put them over the top was in hand and merely a lot of investment, engineering and scaling was needed. The goal of being able to solve NP-hard or NP-Complete problems with quantum computers is similar to being able to travel to the moon, mars or deeper into space with rockets. Conventional flight could not achieve those goals because of the lack of atmosphere in space. Current computing seems like they are very limited in being able to tackle NP-hard and NP Complete problems. Although clever work in advanced mathematics and approximations can give answers that are close on a case by case basis.
Dream on.

Three comments were actually sensible:
Quantum computers cannot solve NP-Hard or NP-Complete problems -- at least, no faster than a classical computer. This is one of the most basic results in the field, and the author keeps on making hash of it. This article should not be taken seriously if it's rife with such basic errors.

[Goddard's rockets were] Designed on totally incorrect physics. The true revolutionaries of rocket propulsion all have German last names.

Quantum computing is about where teleportation, strong AI, a perfect cure for cancer, etc. is, namely it is completely unclear whether it will ever work. All this bullshit about Quantum Computing is just that: Bullshit. We do not even know whether the physics allows it, all we know is that the current theory (which we know is incomplete and inaccurate) would allow it if it was accurate.
Goddard was the famous American rocket pioneer whose physics was mocked by the NY Times:
[1920 editorial] That Professor Goddard, with his "chair" in Clark College and the countenancing of the Smithsonian Institution, does not know the relation of action and reaction, and of the need to have something better than a vacuum against which to react — to say that would be absurd. Of course he only seems to lack the knowledge ladled out daily in high schools.

[1969 ocrrection] Further investigation and experimentation have confirmed the findings of Isaac Newton in the 17th Century and it is now definitely established that a rocket can function in a vacuum as well as in an atmosphere. The Times regrets the error.[
Goddard really did get his Newtonian physics wrong, but the NY Times editorial did not correctly state the error. He needed something better than a vacuum to stabilize the rocket.

As far as I know, no publication has similarly denounced quantum computing. Dark Buzz fills the gap.

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