Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Quantum Supremacy Claim Retracted

Scott Aaronson has just retracted his blessing for Google's quantum supremacy claims.

Quantum supremacy is the idea that a quantum computer could compute something much faster than a classical computer. Aaronson's big idea was that a quantum computer could just sample outputs from a complicated quantum random number generator, and that would pass as quantum supremacy if the classical computer could not simulate it efficiently.

That is what Google did two years ago, and Aaronson was the journal referee who approved the claim of quantum supremacy.

Now some Chinese researchers have shown that they can simulate Google's output on a classical computer. Aaronson says the Google team claims that they can keep changing the benchmark until they find one that the Chinese cannot simulate. He does not believe them.

Aaronson does not go as far as saying that Google's quantum supremacy is all a big hoax, but that's what I get out of his post. Read it yourself.

I am waiting for the quantum computers to compute something that is demonstrably difficult. That has not happened, and may never happen.

Monday, October 11, 2021

The Invention of Zero

When was the zero invented? It appears to have been around 0 AD, except that there was no such year. The year after 1 BC was 1 AD. It did not reach Europe until about 1200 AD.

I would have said that modern mathematicians agree that zero is a natural number, but I find that the world's smartest mathematician disagrees. He likes multiplicative number theory, where zero is avoided. I am pretty sure all the logicians would say that zero is a natural number.

Here is a new video on the subject: Is Zero More Than Nothing? Introducing the Zero Project

Closer To Truth 358K subscribers

Like the domestication of fire and the invention of the wheel, the concept of zero changed the course of human history. Yet zero’s origin remains shrouded in mystery.

Closer To Truth and Robert Lawrence Kuhn explore the mystery with The Zero Project, a group of international researchers searching for evidence of the invention of the numeral zero. Join the global expedition with expert guides from across diverse cultures and a range of specialty fields. In the quest for zero, visit far-flung places lost in time: North and South Africa, Central America, the Middle East, South-, Southeast, and Far East Asia.

Learn more about the project at www.zerorigindia.org

The invention of the numeral 0, and the number 0, seem like two different things. The numeral 0 was invented to allow base 10 numeric representation, like 100, a huge advance over Roman numerals. The number 0 is for the quantity 1-1.

I don't know how anyone can think clearly about anything, without the concept of zero.

The video says emptiness is important in Indian philosophy.

Tuesday, October 5, 2021

No Nobel Prize for Bell Test Experiments

Dr. Bee wrote:
I think a Nobel prize for the second quantum revolution is overdue. The people whose names are most associated with it are Anton Zeilinger, John Clauser, and Alain Aspect. They’ve been on the list for a Nobel Prize for quite some while and I hope that this year they’ll get lucky.
Many have been predicting Nobel prizes for these guys. And previously for David Bohm and John Bell, but they are now dead. See Bell test, for a survey of this work.

They have been passed up again this year.

My guess is that the explanation is that they do not give prizes for merely confirming existing knowledge. These experiments had the potential of disproving quantum mechanics, and that is what was driving the work by Bell and others. But they just confirmed the 1927 theory.

They say these experiments prove how strange quantum mechanics, because they show that it cannot be replaced by a local hidden variable theory. But again, that has been the consensus since about 1930. A Nobel prize for this would be like a prize for demonstrating energy conservation.

Some say that the Bell ideas provoked a lot of thinking about quantum information, "it from bit", and maybe even quantum computing.

But the maybe oddest thing to have come out of this is quantum teleportation. Quantum teleportation allows you to send quantum information with entangled states, even if you don’t yourself know the quantum information. ...

Quantum technologies have a lot of potential that we’re only now beginning to explore.

Dozens of Nobel prizes have been given for quantum theory. I just don't see quantum teleportation as important or interests, either theoretically or practically.

Monday, October 4, 2021

A Theory is a Hypothetical Explanation

I occastionally see science popularizers made a big point about the meaning of the word "theory". For example, the American Museum of Natural History says:
In everyday use, the word "theory" often means an untested hunch, or a guess without supporting evidence.

But for scientists, a theory has nearly the opposite meaning. A theory is a well-substantiated explanation of an aspect of the natural world that can incorporate laws, hypotheses and facts. The theory of gravitation, for instance, explains why apples fall from trees and astronauts float in space. Similarly, the theory of evolution explains why so many plants and imals—some very similar and some very different—exist on Earth now and in the past, as revealed by the fossil record.

But you only hear this from those promoting biological evolution or climate change theories. Here is more typical scientific usage, from a recent Nature magazine podcast:
Theories is the right word for it, because no one is really sure. ... Recently there has been a new theory. ... two existing theories... [2:30]
That's right, scientists talk about competing theories all the time, and they certainly aren't all well-substantiated as they usually contradict each other.

There are also theories like String Theory, which have no substantiation, and do not even make any testable predictions.

Wikipedia is dominated by evolutionists and climate leftists who insist on defining:

In modern science, the term "theory" refers to scientific theories, a well-confirmed type of explanation of nature, made in a way consistent with scientific method, and fulfilling the criteria required by modern science. Such theories are described in such a way that scientific tests should be able to provide empirical support for it, or empirical contradiction ("falsify") of it. Scientific theories are the most reliable, rigorous, and comprehensive form of scientific knowledge,[1] in contrast to more common uses of the word "theory" that imply that something is unproven or speculative (which in formal terms is better characterized by the word hypothesis).[2]
No, the theories on that Nature podcast are not well-confirmed, and String Theory is not described in a way to make it testable.

In Mathematics, a theory is a body of axioms, along with the theorems deducible from those axioms. They are usually computable and consistent, but may not match anything in the real world.