Monday, August 8, 2022

Google Quantum Computers Failed to Prove Anything

AAAS Science magazine announces:
Ordinary computers can beat Google’s quantum computer after all
Superfast algorithm put crimp in 2019 claim that Google’s machine had achieved “quantum supremacy”

If the quantum computing era dawned 3 years ago, its rising sun may have ducked behind a cloud. In 2019, Google researchers claimed they had passed a milestone known as quantum supremacy when their quantum computer Sycamore performed in 200 seconds an abstruse calculation they said would tie up a supercomputer for 10,000 years. Now, scientists in China have done the computation in a few hours with ordinary processors. A supercomputer, they say, could beat Sycamore outright.

Such results were reported previous on this blog, and by Gil Kilai, who points out that Google was wrong by ten orders of magnitude.
“I think they’re right that if they had access to a big enough supercomputer, they could have simulated the … task in a matter of seconds,” says Scott Aaronson, a computer scientist at the University of Texas, Austin. The advance takes a bit of the shine off Google’s claim, says Greg Kuperberg, a mathematician at the University of California, Davis. “Getting to 300 feet from the summit is less exciting than getting to the summit.”

Still, the promise of quantum computing remains undimmed, Kuperberg and others say.

No, they are not 300 feet from the summit. They are still at sea level.

The whole point of quantum supremacy is to find a computation where quantum computers are demonstrably faster that classical (Turing) computers. That has been a failure. No advantage has been shown at all.

The advance underscores the pitfalls of racing a quantum computer against a conventional one, researchers say. “There’s an urgent need for better quantum supremacy experiments,” Aaronson says. Zhang suggests a more practical approach: “We should find some real-world applications to demonstrate the quantum advantage.”
They are acknowledging that no quantum computer has demonstrated any advantage.

I have said here that the whole research program is misguided and doomed. Quantum computing is probably impossible.

Even if you didn't know anything about this subject, you would have to think the program is fishy. The QC proponents are collecting billions of dollars in research funds, and making wildly exaggerated claims, only to be proved wrong later. Look at how they are in denial. The biggest result of the last ten years is proven wrong, and they still say, "the promise of quantum computing remains undimmed".

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