Apr 202024

So here is the thing. When you announce to the world your latest breakthrough in quantum computing, you might want to make sure first that the results cannot be replicated using hardware that is nearly half a century old, from the heyday of 8-bit personal computers.

Granted, the paper announcing this result was presented at a joke conference, but the paper itself is no joke: It’s actually quite well-written and the results appear credible.

I admit I loved this result because not only does it provide an example supporting my skepticism of sensationalist quantum computing claims, it also involves the computer that played a significant role in my early career, and which also happens to be the first computer that I proudly owned.

Of course the real point is that sensationalist coverage aside, apart from highly specialized, niche applications in which quantum computers basically play the role of specialized analog computers, the “quantum revolution” will not happen without scalable quantum computing, and scalable quantum computing will not happen without beating the threshold theorem. I am one of the skeptics: I strongly suspect that the threshold theorem will be shown to be a “no go” theorem. It is, of course, entirely possible that I am wrong about this, but in my mind, quantum computing is in the same league as fusion power: a technology that forever remains “just around the corner”.

 Posted by at 7:52 pm