Category: Quantum Mechanics

Last week I shared with you that mathematician Gil Kalai doesn’t believe quantum computing is possible. He says the math just isn’t there to ever achieve reliable, practical error correction.  Not that Dr. Kalai is alone in this belief, but there sure are a lot of major players that seem to think we’re on the verge of one of the biggest shifts in computing in the last 100 years.

I’m truly excited today to bring you this interview. When I first read about Volkswagen and D-Wave teaming up on traffic optimization, I wanted to get to the team to learn more about exactly what they were up to. Traffic optimization is exciting, to be sure. But high-performance batteries for electric vehicles? Vehicles with artificial intelligence? That’s some hot stuff, right? So I wanted to get this talented team to answer some questions, and boy did they deliver.

The Financial Times reports two “scientific milestones” will be announced in the “next few weeks” by Microsoft and Google, but my Google Home says not so fast. Will Microsoft and Google be making major quantum-related announcements soon? According to the Financial Times, Microsoft and Google are prepared for big leaps in quantum computing, but I’m a little suspicious.

The author of The Quantum Spy says producing world-class American Students is of National Importance. “The number of American citizens who can do very high-end research who also can easily get security clearances is limited. The ability of our schools to produce American students at a world-class level, that’s an important national challenge.”

There’s a huge elephant in the room we need to discuss. Bill Gates admitted to Wall Street Journal Magazine that quantum computing leaves him baffled. Satya Nadella said he can’t explain it in a sentence. If we’re going to build quantum computing into a multibillion-dollar industry, we’re going to have to make it understandable and accessible. We’re going to have to be able to explain it in a sentence, and people with far less experience than Mr. Gates have to be able to grok it.

Since we can’t measure departure or arrival times without a delay, there may be a “quantum speed limit.” Stay with me, here. I recently read an article by Sebastian Deffner that I found fascinating. In his piece, Professor Deffner discusses the discovery of a “quantum speed limit” that will effectively govern how fast quantum computers will actually operate. You’re probably thinking the same thing I did. What does that mean?

Cracking encryption schemes is about time and resources, nothing more. With enough time and enough resources, I can break any scheme we have thus far devised. So quantum computers are scary because . . . ? They have the potential to solve certain problems faster? Maybe the issue isn’t with quantum computers, but with the way we secure our valuable, private, and/or classified data?

Recently quantum computing startup Rigetti Computing proved a hybrid quantum computer running their 19Q (a 19-qubit processor) was capable of cluster analysis, a staple of machine learning. But what I’m most excited about is that the 19Q is now available as a programmable back end in Forest, and anyone can apply for access.

After yesterday’s Christmas wishes, I wanted to get some predictions for 2018 while I had such an illustrious group engaged. From a topological qubit, to machine learning, to demonstrating quantum advantage, I think you’ll enjoy their insights into where quantum computing is headed in the new year.

As I sat there on Christmas Eve morning, I saw the end of the year coming fast. I wanted to come up with a few last 2017 posts that might actually be of some interest. So I reached out to some of the stars of the quantum universe and asked them to share their Christmas wish lists (and in one case, a present). I took the best wish from each and included it below. Here’s what some of your favorite quantum computing peeps hope they’ll get this year.