Thursday, May 27, 2021

Watering down the Definition of Quantum Supremacy

Scott Aaronson admits:
If your point is just that quantum supremacy claims depend for their credibility on people trying hard to refute them and failing, then I vehemently agree! So you and I should both be glad that this is exactly what’s happening right now.

Regarding your question: no, I would not bet that Google’s Sycamore chip can’t be spoofed by a classical computer in 10 years — or right now, for that matter!

In other words, this Google quantum supremacy means nothing except that Google has made a machine that no one has bothered to simulate yet. And he has no confidence that it cannot be done.

Even if it cannot be done, it is still subject to the teapot supremacy argument.

I thought that quantum supremacy meant demonstrating decisively a computational ability superior to ordinary Turing machine computers. Aaronson seems to think that it just means doing something complicated that critics have not yet matched.

Here is how John Preskill originally used the term:

we hope to hasten the day when well controlled quantum systems can perform tasks surpassing what can be done in the classical world. One way to achieve such "quantum supremacy" would be to run an algorithm on a quantum computer which solves a problem with a super-polynomial speedup relative to classical computers ...

We therefore hope to hasten the onset of the era ofquantum supremacy, when wewill be able to perform tasks with controlled quantum systems going beyond whatcan be achieved with ordinary digital computers. ...

I have emphasized the goal of quantum supremacy (super-classical behavior of con-trollable quantum systems) as the driving force behind the quest for a quantumcomputer ...

I have emphasized the goal of quantum supremacy (super-classical behavior of con-trollable quantum systems) as the driving force behind the quest for a quantumcomputer, and the idea of quantum error correction as the basis for our hope thatscalable quantum computing will be achievable.

Aaronson is like Dr. Fauci admitting that the coronavirus may have come from the Wuhan lab. He is preparing for research that could be profoundly embarrassing to the entire field.

Update: Gil Kalai responds:

Hi Scott, regarding the analogy between Google’s Sycamore and IBM’s Deep Blue, here are three differences
1. In the Sycamore case, the researchers largely invented a new game to play
2. In the Sycamore case, the researchers themselves also played the part of Kasparov
3. In the Sycamore case, a huge leap compared to previous efforts is claimed
Aaronson previously wrote:
As I’ve said in dozens of my talks, the application of QC that brings me the most joy is refuting Gil Kalai, Leonid Levin, and all the others who said that quantum speedups were impossible in our world.

1 comment:

  1. Why are people rapidly losing trust in the scientific community?

    Because their lips are moving...

    or, as the very talented thespian Bill Clinton so eloquently put it, "It depends on what 'is' is."

    ‘Oh what a tangled web we weave/When first we practice to deceive,’

    Sir Walter Scott

    'Don't pee on my leg and tell me its raining.'

    Judge Judy Sheindlin