Monday, August 27, 2018

Billion new dollars for quantum computation

Peter Woit announces:
Moving through the US Congress is a National Quantum Initiative Act, which would provide over a billion dollars in funding for things related to quantum computation.
A billion dollars?!

IBM and Google both promised quantum supremacy in 2017. We have no announcement of QS, or any explanation for the failure.

I am not the only one saying it is impossible. See this recent Quanta mag article for other prominent naysayers.

If Congress were to have hearings on this funding, I would expect physicists to be extremely reluctant to throw cold water on lucrative funding for their colleagues. Maybe that is what is keeping Scott Aaronson quiet.

Previously Woit commented:
It’s remarkable to see publicly acknowledged by string theorists just how damaging to their subject multiverse mania has been, and rather bizarre to see that they attribute the problem to my book and Lee Smolin’s. The source of the damage is actually different books, the ones promoting the multiverse, for example this one.
This was induced by some string theorists still complaining about those books that appeared in around 2005.

It is bizarre for anyone to be bothered by some criticism from 13 years ago. The two books did not even say the same thing. You would think that the string theorists would just publish their rebuttal and move on.

Apparently they had no rebuttal, and they depended on everyone going along with the fiction that string theory was working.

Likewise, the quantum computation folks depend on everyone going along with the idea that we are about to have quantum computers (with quantum supremacy), and it will be a big technological advance. We don't need two books on the subject, as it is pretty obvious that IBM and Google are not delivering what they promised.


  1. Just think of it as a billion dollars for condensed matter and low energy statistical physics. That's a good thing, right, even for an empiricist? People will just have to work Hilbert spaces into their proposals, which isn't hard to do even if you're doing something completely classical: all you need do is use a fourier or some other transform. Actually using the word "quantum" might get you more money, but deep down everybody knows it's really "Hilbert computation", leveraging the algebra of linear projection operators on a Hilbert space, however that may be instantiated in the engineering.

    1. Good God, don't give any more money to any physics. It has been a giant make-work employment scheme since the bomb. Think of the opportunity cost. Science is such bullshit these days:

  2. When you bullshit for funding, expect the production of yet still more bullshit. Computer Science above almost all other disciplines must adhere to Garbage in, Garbage out.

    Unless of course, what you really want is just more money with no expectations of any results, and the science is just sophisticated window dressing. Claiming that science funding is good because 'science' is virtue signaling for 'please cut my funding, I have no idea what I'm doing'.

  3. How about Nobel Laureate of physics, Robert Laughlin? *cough*

    1. They keep removing my post where I said "This Nobel Laureate has not taken quantum computing very seriously." and link to my video:

      What grounds do they have? The internet is great because you can see how various institutions in our society are just tyrants and frauds. They command no authority anymore. Any trailer trash loser with Aspergers can create a magazine but they can't monopolize the discussion. They don't listen and they don't care. On the internet, we can just go around their fifth-rate venues. People should be creating free speech alternatives to the tech giants.