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Sunday, April 28, 2019

Quantum Hype and Skepticism

Short piece looks at both sides.

Quantum Hype and Quantum Skepticism   By Moshe Y. Vardi 
Communications of the ACM, May 2019, Vol. 62 No. 5, Page 7

" .... The popular media regularly reports breathlessly on quantum computing: "Quantum computing will break your encryption in a few years"; "Why quantum's computing time is now"; and "The computer that could rule the world." Yet the physical realization of quantum computing has been a hard slog. A Canadian company, D-Wave Systems, has claimed to be the world's first company to sell computers that exploit quantum effects in their operation. But the D-Wave machine is far from being a general quantum computer, and several researchers disagree with D-Wave's claims.

In fact, several quantum-computing researchers have expressed skepticism regarding the physical realizability of the quantum-computing dream.a Quantum skeptics agree that quantum computation does offer an exponential advantage of classical computation in theory, but they argue it is not physically possible to build scalable quantum computers. Gil Kalai is one of the most prominent quantum skeptics. All physical systems are noisy, he argues,b and qubits kept in highly sensitive superpositions will inevitably be corrupted by any interaction with the outside world. In contrast, quantum-skepticism skeptics, such as Scott Aaronson, view the realizability of quantum computing as an outstanding question in physics,c and regard the skeptical view as representing an implausible revolution in physics. .... " 

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