Monday, January 29, 2024

Quantum Computer Revolution may be Further off

IEEE Spectrum reports:
The quantum computer revolution may be further off and more limited than many have been led to believe. That’s the message coming from a small but vocal set of prominent skeptics in and around the emerging quantum computing industry.

The problem isn’t just one of timescales. In May, Matthias Troyer, a technical fellow at Microsoft who leads the company’s quantum computing efforts, co-authored a paper in Communications of the ACM suggesting that the number of applications where quantum computers could provide a meaningful advantage was more limited than some might have you believe.

“We found out over the last 10 years that many things that people have proposed don’t work,” he says. “And then we found some very simple reasons for that.” ...

Even in the areas where quantum computers look most promising, the applications could be narrower than initially hoped. In recent years, papers from researchers at scientific software company Schrödinger and a multi-institutional team have suggested that only a limited number of problems in quantum chemistry are likely to benefit from quantum speedups. ...

“In the public, the quantum computer was portrayed as if it would enable something not currently achievable, which is inaccurate,” he says. “Primarily, it will accelerate existing processes rather than introducing a completely disruptive new application area. So we are evaluating a difference here.” ... “Most problems in quantum chemistry do not scale exponentially, and approximations are sufficient,” he says. “They are well behaved problems, you just need to make them faster with increased system size.”

Compare to the hype surrounding Artificial Intelligence (AI). It is also over-hyped by its enthusiasts, but it has also delievered a lot of very impressive demonstrable results. Quantum computing has delivered nothing, and may never deliver anything.

Someday we really will have personal robots and self-driving cars, but we may never have a useful quantum computer.

Google Research just released a video:

Quantum Computing - Hype vs. reality | Field Notes

Google Research
35.7K subscribers

25,188 views Jan 22, 2024 #GoogleAI #GoogleResearch
As the race to build the world's first truly useful quantum computer intensifies, so too does the need for clear-eyed assessment. This Field Notes episode brings in the Google Quantum AI team to help answer a few fundamental questions to drive understanding of its impact now and in the future.

It says quantum computers could become useful by 2030, or maybe a few years later.

the group is called "Quantum AI", but the video said nothing about AI. Just combining buzzwords, I guess.

The most touted application was fusion simulations, in order to help bring fusion power plants to market. Othere were discuvering drugs, and making the planet greener with chemistry for better batteries and fertilizer.

No mention of breaking everyone's cryptosystems. That is the only think quantum computer enthusiasts are sure about.

I am amazed that Google keeps funding this pipe dream. It has canceled hundreds of really useful products. It has developed some really good AI, but is checken to market it like OpenAI and Microsoft. Elsewhere Google touts quantum machine learning, but I doubt this will ever be practical. The non-quantum methods are progressing rapidly, and there is no sign that quantum computers would be useful.

Self-driving cares are over-hyyped, but I believe we are making progress and will get there. I do not think that that we are getting any closer to quantum computing.

1 comment:

  1. I really do wish people would stop wishing for crap without thinking it through. Cautionary science fiction used to be the staple of thoughtful people concerned that there would be a 'and then what happened?' fifteen minutes after the 'golly gee whiz!' factor over the latest technological marvel wore off...usually after the first fatality.

    Fifteen minutes after the product release is about how long it takes for someone (like a terrorist or the government) to figure out how to find some new application for said product, like using it to spy on, rob, hurt, or even kill people.

    Self driving cars is a fantastic way to put many people out of a job, while at the same time allowing you to mindlessly tune out while having something you don't control control you and track everywhere you go. Want to bet money the government isn't going to be the one doing the name of public safety of course :o)~? Thank goodness no one like terrorists and assassins could ever possibly figure out how to use this wonderful idea to rain death down on millions in mere moments with self guided missiles on wheels. Think Zombie mob apocalypse except with cars.

    Maybe folks should try taking a flipping taxi, Uber, or the damn bus or train instead.
    You aren't god damn Miss Daisey.