back to article Quantum computing startups pull in millions as VCs rush to get ahead of the game

Venture capital firms are pouring billions into quantum computing companies, hedging bets that the technology will pay off big time some day. Rigetti, which makes quantum hardware, announced a $1.5bn merger with Supernova Partners Acquisition Company II, a finance house focusing on strategic acquisitions. Rigetti, which was …

  1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    For a Radical Change of Earthly Direction and Future Production

    quantum processors will provide an excellent complement to classical processors," Gwennap wrote.

    Oh please, Linley Gwennap, haven't you realised it yet. Quantum processing will absolutely annihilate classical processors and procedures.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This is irrational investment for topic still in the early stages of basic research. A lot, if not most, of the money will disappear into the pockets of hype-masters, and ensuing following negative feedback (where's my monetary return?) in a few years will hurt the actual basic research.

    Spoken with >99% (personal) confidence level.

  3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    For the gold rush it was shovels. What do quantum computing companies buy?

    1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

      Memo to Boards and the Bored and the Boring re the ReBirthing of Lost&Lonely Souls

      For the gold rush it was shovels. What do quantum computing companies buy? ...... Doctor Syntax

      They aint into buying anything offered, Doc, for their forte and raison d'être is selling brave hearts and opening minds.

  4. YetAnotherJoeBlow Bronze badge

    The first company to the finish line might as well disconnect from the internet because the thieves will be very inpatient.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Flogging a dead cat

    "If quantum ever works, there could be a huge market, hence the VC interest, but the technology is years away from significant revenue"

    Strip away the nonsense quantum claims, and it's a hardware accelerated noisy gradient descent that is outperformed by digital algos. Which is why analogue computers like this died out in the 1970s. So if the 'quantum part' doesn't work, its worthless.

    Currently you can see it doesn't work, simply by repeatedly factoring public keys from different start points, getting multiple different contradictory results is proof it's not quantum, and certainly not going through all possible states till the result is 'measured'.

    It's not just the lack of results, its also the optimization function itself. Yours has circuitry limits the digital one doesn't have. That's a tough sell, and the detail isn't your friend.

    So lets read the "Investor Presentation"

    "Cautionary Notes : This presentation (“Presentation”) is for informational purposes only. This Presentation shall not constitute an offer to sell, or the solicitation of an offer to buy, any securities, nor shall there be any sale of securities in any states or jurisdictions in which such offer, solicitation or sale would be unlawful"

    OK, so this investor presentation, is not a presentation for investors. It's both an investor presentation AND NOT an investor presentation simultaneously, depending on whether you are an investor, or a juror, reading it.

    "Massive untapped revenue opportunity expected to exceed current HPC and cloud hardware markets" .....Delivered over the cloud"

    Idea for a webmonkey, take a stock optimizer like CMaes, take the optimization function in some stock language (e.g. Javascript ), rebrand it "cloud quantum" (which is as true as any of these companies quantum claims), hype it.

    Yeh, I know, any programmer could simply link to Apache Math and use a stock algo locally, and get results in seconds, but that's not the point. It's not about results, its about the "glow of quantum".

    You're selling your punters a "glow" they in turn can market to *their* investors/jurors.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Flogging a dead cat

      In the words of Michael Miles of the "Take Your Pick" TV program of yore:

      "Open Box the Box" or "Take the money".

    2. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

      Re: Flogging a dead cat @Anonymous Coward

      So it is just business as usual, Anonymous Coward, and nothing very different from any current normal markets trading with ponzi and zombie companies/proprietary intellectual property bankrupt entities bereft of future profitable sources, which are always tacking the following sorts of provisions onto filings in small print in an attempt to excuse their indolence and deceit in the full ignorant and arrogant expectation that such can aid one is escaping criminal prosecution and personal persecution for wilful malfeasance and wanton corruption and perversion of markets so rigged for exceptional executive exploitation and elite fiat enrichment ????? ........

      This announcement contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Actual results may differ significantly from management's expectations. These forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties that include, among others, risks related to potential future losses, significant amount of indebtedness, competition, commercial agreements and strategic alliances, seasonality, potential fluctuations in operating results and rate of growth, foreign exchange rates, management of potential growth, system interruption, international expansion, consumer trends, inventory, fulfillment center optimization, limited operating history, government regulation and taxation, fraud, and new business areas.

      To believe that to be true of Quantum AIdDevelopments has one definitely exceedingly busy always flogging a dead cat which has zero bounce.

      You've earned yourself a downvote for all of your troubled misleadings, but with so much at a stake one can certainly understand your precarious position and dire situation and why you would wish things to remain very much the same as they are, rather than change into anything else better and much more inclusive of and mutually beneficial to the globally dispossessed and universally abused and misused.

      1. JamesTGrant
        Terminator

        Re: Flogging a dead cat @Anonymous Coward

        Has @amanfrommars1 been upgraded? That’s 3 comments in a row that make sense and comment coherently and contextually (enough) on other folk’s postings - even suggesting a consistent bias across posts. Perhaps amfm is now based on GPT3 quantum neural net blockchain?

        Perhaps he could be unleashed onto other comment boards - or maybe write content for aggregation/ recycled story sites?

        Perhaps he could be a judge for ‘xfactors voice got talent in the jungle’?

        1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

          Re: Flogging a dead cat @Anonymous Coward

          Perhaps he could be unleashed onto other comment boards - or maybe write content for aggregation/ recycled story sites? ...... JamesTGrant

          Some other comments boards are terrified of what is being freely shared with them, JamesTGrant, ..... for reasons which we are not privy to, which is weird, for how is one then best to know exactly how to accommodate their needs and feeds and seeds.

          Here be a prime example of the problem ..... which if Murphy has his say, will probably now appear in all its glory where it was earlier posted today at 1529 GMT :-) .....

          GrahamC [2110101629] ...... advises on https://www.nationaldefensemagazine.org/articles/2021/10/8/qa-with-gen-murray-leader-of-army-futures-command

          Regarding ..... "The challenge in the long run is we're going to have to figure out how to retain and utilize the talent, because with the skill sets these kids have, if we don't figure this out pretty quickly they're going to get snapped up by commercial industry." ...... surely that is something the new kids with talented skill sets are best suited and booted to provide to military commanders for exercising remotely with their existing practical and virtual control levers.

          Nearly all of the really innovative and effective military and paramilitary developments for use in the theatres of both near and distant tomorrows are way beyond the normal ken of traditional soldiers, so it would be a dereliction of duty to expect existing conventional forces and sources to provide illustrative leadership in future highly contested fields of almighty endeavour and overwhelmingly advantageous engagement/JOINT AIDVenturing.

          And such is certainly to be well recognised whether one lives in the West or the East, the North or the South for it is a universally pertinent fact which it is impossible to deny and retain any peer support and personal credibility.

          And as such does require existing hierarchies to be prepared to make a whole series of quantum leaps into the new ways and means of doing things with Advanced IntelAIgent Memes.

          [Thank you. Your comment will be displayed soon after reviewing.]

        2. EricB123

          Re: Flogging a dead cat @Anonymous Coward

          I just hope El Reg doesn't go the Facebook route, where the most abrasive comments get bubbled to the top of the pile.

  6. msobkow Bronze badge

    I find it disturbing that if someone is chasing a pie in the sky long-term vision for something like fusion research, the investors aren't around except for governments and large agencies (with a very few exceptions.) Yet tie it to technology, and the billions flow like water, even if their futures are almost as far off before REAL benefits will be gleaned.

    Both are immature technologies with immense promise, but I honestly think fusion is the MUCH bigger contributor to mankind's future...

    1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

      Fusion, should it happen in the near future, would be of immense benefit to mankind. Assuming we use it to avoid pollution-creating technologies and help recycle things as the energy-cost has dropped, and we don't just use it to accelerate a tat-filled capitalist dream of consumption.

      Quantum computers however have the promise of being smaller, cheaper and in greater demand than a few power stations with 30-year life-spans. Praise the profits!

  7. vtcodger Silver badge

    No real need for it to actually work

    Now they just have to make it work

    Not exactly. They just have to recover their investment plus an obscene profit before folks discover that it doesn't work. If quantum computing should, unlikely as it may seem, actually have useful applications, that's a (quite likely) unexpected bonus. For reference, see penny mining stocks, and/or cryptocurrency.

    Aside:

    History of Blue Sky Laws

    The term "blue sky law" is said to have originated in the early 1900s, gaining widespread use when a Kansas Supreme Court justice declared his desire to protect investors from speculative ventures that had "no more basis than so many feet of 'blue sky.'" https://www.investopedia.com/terms/b/blueskylaws.asp

  8. sreynolds

    Who are these capitalists? I have some snake oil I am trying to offload.

    1. herman Silver badge

      Well, snake oil is real and it may even be good for something.

  9. Muscleguy Silver badge

    Just in

    New Scientist reports that the Joint Quantum Institute in Maryland have found how to make the error correction 99.4% reliable. A major jump which means quantum error correction no longer makes more errors than it corrects. This is pretty big if it pans out.

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