Monday, September 25, 2017

Microsoft makes play for quantum computer programming

Ars Technica reports:
At its Ignite conference today, Microsoft announced its moves to embrace the next big thing in computing: quantum computing. Later this year, Microsoft will release a new quantum computing programming language, with full Visual Studio integration, along with a quantum computing simulator. With these, developers will be able to both develop and debug quantum programs implementing quantum algorithms.
This is ridiculous. No one will ever have any legitimate use for this.
This ability for qubits to represent multiple values gives quantum computers exponentially more computing power than traditional computers.
Scott Aaronson likes to say that this is wrong. Of course I say that there will never be a quantum speedup.
It will have quite significant memory requirements. The local version will offer up to 32 qubits, but to do this will require 32GB of RAM. Each additional qubit doubles the amount of memory required. The Azure version will scale up to 40 qubits.

Longer term, of course, the ambition is to run on a real quantum computer. Microsoft doesn't have one, yet, but it's working on one.
Wow, that is a lot of memory for a simulator.
One awkward spectre is what happens if someone does manage to build a large quantum computer. Certain kinds of encryption gain their security from the fact that integer factorization ... but if the technology were developed to build quantum computers with a few thousand qubits, these encryption algorithms would become extremely vulnerable. ... That quantum computing future is, fortunately, still likely to be many years off.
That's right, we are fortunate that no one has a quantum computer. It would only cause harm, for the foreseeable future.


  1. Visual Studio is the biggest piece of slow, bloatware garbage I have ever used. While quantum computers won't ever be built, they could only cause harm. However, Google is already ahead of them:

    "For public key encryption, such as that used for online communications and financial transactions, possible post-quantum alternatives include lattice-based, hash-based, and multivariate cryptographic algorithms as well as those that update today's Diffie-Hellman algorithm with supersingular elliptic curves. Google is already experimenting with some of these, Curran said. 'Google is working with the Lattice-based public-key New Hope algorithm,' he said. 'They are deploying it in Chrome where a small fraction of connections between desktop Chrome and Google's servers will use a post-quantum key-exchange algorithm. By adding a post-quantum algorithm on top of the existing one, they are able to experiment without affecting user security.'"

    The absurdity is that XORing is not under threat but only stupid key exchange, which could be done over the phone with a credit card company or paypal ONCE.

    1. By the way, why hasn't Bill Unruh challenged these QCs like Gil Kalai. He has to know they are bullshit. He wrote a paper against them right at the beginning, in 1994:

      He has also written sensible views on non-locality and "psi-ontic" wave functions:

  2. Why would anyone write a computer language for a computer that doesn't exist yet? How does this generate revenue for a software company? How might this be done without an intimate understanding of an existing piece of technology it would have to control? This makes me think of the simple trouble of encountering a lack of hardware drivers whenever a new operating system comes out...and that's with established technology standards everyone understands, not non-existent technology that doesn't exist yet. I would say this is just Microsoft spin and their really pushing the boundaries of the concept of 'vaporware'.

    1. You have discovered the phenomenon called bullshit jobs.