Thursday, February 6, 2014

The problem with D-wave's "quantum" computer

Someone from the company D-wave is coming to UQ [not the physics department] next week to give a seminar. Their claim of producing the first commercial quantum computer has met with considerable skepticism. This has been led by Scott Aaronson, on his blog. It contains some nice detailed and thoughtful discussion of the relevant scientific issues.

But here is the key concern, that I fully agree with,
As I’ve said many times, I’d support even the experiments that D-Wave was doing, if D-Wave and its supporters would only call them for what they were: experiments.  Forays into the unknown.  Attempts to find out what happens when a particular speculative approach is thrown at NP-hard optimization problems.  It’s only when people obfuscate the results of those experiments, in order to claim something as “commercially useful” that quite obviously isn’t yet, that they leave the realm of science, and indeed walk straight into the eager jaws of skeptics ...
I think this reflects larger problems in society, once the [money] tail wags the donkey problems occur.

At the end of the day, there is no real evidence that
-there is any large scale quantum entanglement in the D-wave devices [there is some indirect evidence [i.e. not violation of Bell inequalities] of small scale entanglement.
-they have achieved any real speedup over what a classical computer can do [see this preprint].

1 comment:

  1. Ross, Please come along to the session and have a conversation with the D-Wave scientists about the levels of entanglement and other quantum effects.We are very happy to have robust open conversations..Bill Trestrail, D-Wave Systems.