Two Sunday-morning breakfast links

On Thursday NEC put out a press release announcing the “world’s first controllably coupled qubits.” See here for the abstract of the accompanying Science paper by Niskanen et al. (unfortunately the full text requires a subscription). NEC’s announcement led to the usual fluffified popular articles; see here, here, and here for example. But to satisfy Geordie Rose’s curiosity, my hype-o-meter has not yet reached D-Wave levels, for three reasons.

  1. These claims haven’t garnered nearly as much ‘quonfusion’ as D-Wave’s in the popular press.
  2. In this case there is a peer-reviewed paper.
  3. There’s no claim here about solving NP-complete problems, or indeed about asymptotic complexity at all. The sole claim to originality has to do with “tunable two-qubit couplings,” and I’m not at all well-placed to evaluate it.

Anyway, I thought I should at least mention this work, in the hope that commenters more knowledgeable than I am will weigh in on its significance. Eternal vigilance is the price of quantum computing research.

OK, on to the second breakfast link. Bill Gasarch has reviewed my blog for SIGACT News (scroll down to page 15), together with Lance Fortnow’s and Luca Trevisan’s. Favorite quotes:

Lance is Walter Cronkite. Scott is Stephen Colbert.

The name of the blog, ‘Shtetl-Optimized’ does not really say what it is about. With this in mind one can never say Scott has gone ‘off topic’ since its [sic] not clear what the topic should be.

Incidentally, an uncharitable person might suspect a slight conflict of interest in Bill reviewing Lance’s blog, seeing as Bill now writes Lance’s blog. But Bill assures us that he reviewed the blog before taking it over.

10 Responses to “Two Sunday-morning breakfast links”

  1. rrtucci Says:

    What D-wave (and the press departments of many universities) should realize

  2. nextquant Says:

    Geordie Rose’s main point was that the NEC press release stated World’s First Controllably Coupled Qubits (see this post and links therein) which in his opinion is in contradiction with the earlier D-Wave works, which have also been published in peer-reviewed journals.
    Some comments:
    At least this NEC press release statement ‘The quantum computer, when it is finally brought to fruition, is expected to far surpass the capabilities of even the most modern of today’s supercomputers’ should be hype-o-meter detectable. ;). No comparison to ‘specifically designed to provide extremely rapid and accurate approximate answers to arbitrarily large NP-complete problems’, though…
    // In this case there is a peer-reviewed paper. // Geordie Rose stated three months ago that the the quantum evidences concerning the Orion processor were being submitted for peer review. It’d be very interesting to know what’s the current state of this… BTW: The ‘Introduction to Orion’ on D-Wave’s homepage states (page 26) that ‘QUANTUM EFFECTS ARE BEING HARNESSED TO ACCELERATE COMPUTATION IN OUR PROCESSORS’.
    Geordie criticizes the NEC press release title. He seems to forget about this one: World’s First Commercial Quantum Computer Demonstrated (see this post and links therein).

  3. Travis Hime Says:

    I am also skeptical of the “World’s First” status, since we at Berkeley reported controllably-coupled qubits in the December 1 issue of Science. It looks like they have some time-domain results that we don’t (I’m at home and can’t read the full paper at the moment) but we certainly demonstrated controllable coupling.

  4. nextquant Says:

    Hi Travis!
    World’s First is only mentioned in the press release.

    The Tsai paper is actually citing your Science paper – together with the D-Wave paper and van der Ploeg PRL paper.

  5. Scott Says:

    I was also extremely skeptical of the “world’s first” part, but I figured commenters could do a better job than me at digging up counterexamples.

  6. Kurt Says:

    Bill Gasarch’s weblog review is just begging for a reply of some kind, no?

    Toward the end of the column he says, “I think we all have about a month of blogs in us.” It’s been a little over a month since Bill took over the Complexity Theory blog — do you think he is trying to tell us something?

  7. Gasarch Says:

    Realize that I really did write the review of weblogs
    a few months before I took it over, so the comment
    “we all have about a month of blogs in us” was NOT
    meant to hint that I would only do it for a month.
    Or to hint at anything.

    How long will I keep it up? Only time will tell.
    (Do not read to much into that remark either.)

  8. The Quantum Pontiff » Um, First? Says:

    […] Geordie incites Scott’s hypometer, but not nearly to the record setting levels of Orion times. […]

  9. nextquant Says:

    There is yet another point that should be criticized about the NEC paper… I’m talking about the presentation of the implemented quantum algorithm.
    * the algorithm, a version of quantum coin tossing is explained in detail
    * the physical implementation of the algorithm is also described
    * the quantum protocol is even illustrated with a time-probability diagram

    Nowadays everyone should know that new results on quantum algorithms must be presented using a fancy GUI, not some old-fashioned figures and formulae! Detailed explanations are also not allowed due to peer review and patent applications.
    What have they been thinking?!

    The following quote (source) is simply outrageous:
    These results do not change the fact that there are still many difficulties to be resolved.
    This pessimism is irresponsible and damages the quantum computational community.

  10. Jonathan Vos Post Says:

    Any comment? With or without hypometer, on:

    Marching Single File Toward Qubits

    By Phil Berardelli
    ScienceNOW Daily News
    25 May 2007

    “… Now, researchers have demonstrated a tiny device that can emit single electrons through a conducting medium called a two-dimensional electron gas (2DEG), every nanosecond or so. The 2DEG allows the electrons to pass undisturbed, so they can act as quantum bits, or qubits, more elaborate versions of the individual data bits in conventional computer systems. The team, at L’École Normale Supérieure in Paris, describes in today’s issue of Science how they created an extremely tiny electrical insulator called a quantum dot, which allows electrons through to the 2DEG one at a time whenever it receives a tickle of electricity…. The device represents a step toward quantum computing, says physicist and co-author Christian Glattli….”