back to article Google and IBM square off in Schrodinger’s catfight over quantum supremacy

Just before Christmas, Google claimed quantum supremacy. The company had configured a quantum computer to produce results that would take conventional computers some 10,000 years to replicate - a landmark event. Bollocks, said IBM - which also has big investments both in quantum computing and not letting Google get away with …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Moving slowly from a state of irrelevance to a state of expectant interest

    Nothing claiming the term "Supremacy" should be based on a calcification specifically rigged for the target platform, that does nothing that can't be done on another platform, and also doesn't do anything useful. IBM's complaint that the answer is solvable in a reasonable amount of time seems valid enough, but more of a concern in calling out the google teams "creative" math. It's not even scare quotes "Quantum Supremacy" or "Quantum Supremacy Lite"*** where the *** declaration is pointing to a 50 page list of weasel words.

    The minimum we should accept for a claim of limited Quantum Supremacy would be the quantum computer reliably solving a useful, real world calculation faster and more efficiently than conventional computing resources. Full Quantum Supremacy should be declared when a full quantum or hybrid system is faster and more efficient than all other general purpose computers. The rest of these claims are marketing frippery.

    Marketeers will not be meaningfully harmed if they are prevented lying to the rest of the world by making these false and over hyped claims.

    1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

      Re: Moving slowly from a state of irrelevance to a state of expectant interest

      Marketeers will not be meaningfully harmed if they are prevented lying to the rest of the world by making these false and over hyped claims. ..... Anonymous Coward

      Crikey, AC, that sounds like a call to violence against false and over hyped claims marketeers. Such will decimate the incontinent political classes ...... you know, that and those in the all show and no go crowd.

      And the chances are, such would be extremely popular and almightily well supported.

    2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: Moving slowly from a state of irrelevance to a state of expectant interest

      the term "Supremacy"

      Is a term of art in this field, so your objections should be addressed to those who coined and popularized it, not to the Google researchers.

      a calcification [sic] specifically rigged for the target platform

      It's not "rigged". It's a problem that had been proposed, by other researchers, years ago, for testing QCs with uncorrected qubits.

      does nothing that can't be done on another platform

      Quantum computational supremacy has nothing to do with problems that can't be solved in principle by a conventional machine (the principle in question being the Extended Church-Turing thesis). It has to do with problems that are infeasible to solve on conventional systems. And the biggest problem Google threw at Sycamore (the depth-20 one) is right at the edge of what Summit can handle (at the moment - with some algorithmic improvements they might be able to squeeze a slightly larger one on there).

      doesn't do anything useful

      There's at least one known application. Read Aaronson's blog.

      The minimum we should accept for a claim of limited Quantum Supremacy would be the blah blah I know more than actual researchers in this field

      Yes, you're very smart. Everyone working in QC should immediately bow before the wisdom of Anonymous Coward and change their definitions.

  2. Frumious Bandersnatch Silver badge

    Yes, very interesting ...

    but why exactly is there something rather than nothing?

    1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

      Re: Yes, very interesting ... and potentially devastating

      Yes, very interesting ... but why exactly is there something rather than nothing?...... Frumious Bandersnatch

      Surely that is easily answered, FB. There are new audiences to entertain and try capture, and they aint nobody's fools. Such requires things to be different with practically nothing the same as it was before ..... which you might like to consider is perfectly normal in all that is called progress and something that has been conspicuous by its absence in recent times in earthed spaces.

    2. zuckzuckgo Bronze badge

      Re: Yes, very interesting ...

      "but why exactly is there something rather than nothing?"

      Angel investors.

    3. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: Yes, very interesting ...

      Weak anthropic principle: Observing that there is something requires a priori something to observe it. Thus in any world where we can observe whether there is something, there must be something.

      Of course there is nothing, too. I have a jar of it right here on my desk. Damn, I just spilled iaskjdff8^*&NO CARRIER

  3. steviebuk Silver badge

    Only time this will become useful...

    ...is if it ends up cheap and can be used to create our very own Star Trek holodecks :)

  4. Tail Up
    Thumb Up

    Shroedinger Catfight. Nice

    Another ElRegd memetic headline. Love this place

  5. Daniel Pfeiffer

    Aren't quantum computers ideally suited to generate random numbers anyway? Just turn off the cooling and don't implement error correction. So what's the news here?

    1. zuckzuckgo Bronze badge

      Just a random thought?

  6. NanoMeter

    Quantum supremacy - must be like racist or something. NOT.

    1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

      In the Service of Extreme Political Correctness .....

      Quantum supremacy - must be like racist or something. NOT. .... NanoMeter

      'Tis surely much more akin to a fascist thing, NanoMeter, which presents itself with a whole host of, if not actually new, certainly novel attractions to excite and exploit/ignite and explode amongst the ruling classes.

      It is quaint to think that Google and IBM might think, in any race against AI Titans and/or effective stealthy foreign competition, that they lead alone rather than follow together, however it is to be fully expected if one is minded to remember this observation attributed to Einstein .......Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I’m not sure about the the universe.

      1. NanoMeter

        Re: In the Service of Extreme Political Correctness .....

        I'm referring to this news item:

        https://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/2019/12/17/academics-derided-claiming-quantum-supremacy-racist-colonialist/

        1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

          Re: In the Service of Extreme Political Correctness .....with the Application of Imagination

          I was enamoured of this doozy, NanoMeter ...... https://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/2020/01/11/welcome-dominic-cummings-dream-factory-failure-can-pave-way/

          Seems like a Brilliant Plan ...... from/for Other Sources of Energy and Power, Command and Control.

          What does Comrade Boris think of the move/initiative/alternative root? And has the question also been asked of those most likely to be personally effected with radically different presentations with newly acquired advanced intelligence ...... . Extremely Hot Source with All Cores NEUKlearer HyperRadioProACTive.

          And Beautifully Promiscuous in Applied Imaginative Fields ........ Practical Theatres of/for Virtually Real Engagement, Deployment, Employment and Enjoyment with Exploits Exercised to XSSXXXX Streams of Satisfaction and Gratitude, Lust and Desire.

          :-) You can easily imagine why that is all so overwhelmingly appealing and seductively attractive to boot and root. No wonder it is So Universally Popular :-)

  7. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Quantum Effect in Spooky Action?

    Crikey, Michael Wojcik, however do you do that? Eight quite detailed and time-consuming replies to posts on this thread all delivered at practically exactly the same time, ...... which is presently registered as 4hrs ago.

    Is there a simple explanation?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Quantum Effect in Spooky Action?

      Are you worried that you are no longer the only one who posts quantumly amanfromMars1?

      You've been superseded by a more accurate and faster alternative.

      Is this what it sounds like when doves cry for you and IBM?

      1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

        The Blind leading the Blind Guarantees Colossal Systems Crashes

        Are you worried that you are no longer the only one who posts quantumly amanfromMars1?

        You've been superseded by a more accurate and faster alternative.

        Is this what it sounds like when doves cry for you and IBM? ..... Anonymous Coward

        What is there to be worried about whenever company can be so engaging and enlightening, AC.

        And quite whether a more accurate and faster alternative is to be recognised as the result of earlier past relatively solo efforts or later latent joint future endeavours is another thing which is not at all worrying here. We just look forward to seeing and hearing and feeling the evidence of such a bold assertion.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: The Blind leading the Blind Guarantees Colossal Systems Crashes

          Much like IBM, you have must history to overcome before we have a new force to fear.

          I will be patient and watch from the sidelines.

    2. batfink Silver badge

      Re: Quantum Effect in Spooky Action?

      Naturally. The Micheal Wojcik device simply has a high enough number of qubits to provide parallel outputs.

      1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

        Re: Quantum Effect in Spooky Action?

        Naturally. The Micheal Wojcik device simply has a high enough number of qubits to provide parallel outputs. ...... batfink

        That begs the question, batfink, parallel similar and/or dissimilar outputs to aggregate into something altogether quite different and disruptive/revolutionary and Great Game Changing?

        That would be quite a dangerous device to be responsible for ..... and as an invisible export for import, worth more than just many huge fortunes.

        Nice one, Michael Wojcik, is that be yours to Fly with AIMaster Pilot Command and Control.

  8. Andy The Hat Silver badge

    I see the future ...

    "Google"

    "Do you have a question Dave?"

    "Yes Google. Using your super dooper new quantum computing power, can you tell me, when is the peak of a man's life?"

    >Time passes ...

    "Yes Dave. The answer is '42' ... I think."

    "Pardon Google?"

    "Well according to the output distribution, my best guess is '42' but it could also be 'chilli massala', 'octopus testicles' or 'the inevitably rubbish episodes of Doctor Who at Christmas'."

    "How did you work that out Google?"

    >Time passes ... a dwarf throws an axe ... It misses when it mysteriously turns into a not-actually-veggie plant burger and auto-deposits into the nearest bin ...

    "My answer was based on the QC output which showed the demonstrable probability that consuming a portion of Octopus Testicle Chilli Massala with your mates whilst watching a Christmas episode of Doctor Who in the Pub and everyone winding up with fatal food poisoning actually decreases after the age of 42."

    "Fatal?"

    "Yes Dave, they're dead Dave"

    "Octopus tescticles ..."

    "No it's true. They're all dead Dave"

    "Thank you Google. Now compute the likelihood that QC is a load of octopus testicles."

  9. Tail Up
    Pint

    ....Suddenly -

    whether both schcats are in a quantum state, is the result of thieir fight a *delayed* quantum state, is it not?

    if yes, what if you have come to a pre-ficht agreement with one of the schcats?

    ok, where do you guys n gals usually sew your Nobel tuxedoes?

    ***

    beer. gimme.

    1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

      Re: ....Suddenly - and Right Out of the Pale Blue Yonder, Something to Wonder At and Wander With

      That is tantamount to providing for the future, sweet stealthy virtual collusion with guaranteed mutually beneficial positively reinforcing solutions generously made available for every possible situation from schcats stores, Tail Up.

      That opens up an Almighty Pandora's Box where when the cats are away, mice play and create in Havoc and Mayhem, Madness and Confusion, CHAOS ..... Clouds Hosting Advanced Operating Systems.

      That be good vodka and expensive champagne territory. Of that there is no need to be in doubt.

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