Are quantum Computers over- hyped?

Jzz

May 10, 2021
122
54
660
The hunt for a quantum computer had come to a head in 2012, this resulted in a decade of research with huge inputs, unlimited cash from all the Big Names; Amazon, Google, A&E and so on, this research also had the use of some of the most intelligent software engineers and programmers in the world, yet all this hype has resulted in little progress. While conventional computer technology has made giant strides during this period, storage capacities exceeding 20 tera bytes in 2022 and computing speeds keeping pace, the research into quantum computers has not been able to put a practical machine on the table, in fact they are nowhere near being able to do it. In recent times there have been several highly qualified detractors of the hype surrounding quantum computers and the unreasonable performance expectations attributed to them.

A quantum computer

Perhaps, this is a good time to recollect the unusual theories that quantum computers are based upon. To begin with researchers were very confident of being able to harness quantum entanglement using photons, but this was found to be too difficult to achieve, therefore the focus shifted to electromagnetic changes experienced by the Josephson junction in super-conductors. The non-linear shift in current through the Josephson junction it was thought, would be amenable to forming qubits, the analogue of a classical bit used in conventional computers.

Yet, how do Josephson junctions correlate to quantum suppositions such as quantum entanglement and superposition. The unfortunate answer is that they don’t, and this perhaps is the biggest drawback to quantum computers, it would be one thing if they actually used quantum entanglement as the physical basis of their working but they don’t. Using, changes in the amount of electric current flowing through a Josephson Junction is surely more closely related to classical physics than to any quantum theory? Thus while these technologies might have a bearing on building better conventional computers, they aren’t strictly speaking based on quantum phenomenon.

This uncontrolled pursuit of ‘quantum’ technology has not been restricted to quantum computers alone. Take the massive LIGO projects, multi-billion dollar projects, built to detect differences amounting to 1/10,000 th the width of a proton, used to detect gravitational waves. With that kind of sensitivity a man weighing 80 Kg taking a single step a 1000 km away from LIGO would produce a signal that was 800 times LIGO’s claimed sensitivity. Is it all hype ? Very likely, but physics mavens jump eagerly on every report from these gravitational wave detectors. Or take the LHC, physicists are planning the next LHC to be 3 times as big as the present one, which has a circumference of 27 kilometres. When the staggering cost of these projects is taken into account, especially in a world stressed out by the pandemic and other calamities, surely a better use could be made of the money?

In one sense, this growing disillusionment with quantum computers might be thought of as being the leading edge of a disillusionment with quantum mechanics itself. If quantum entanglement and quantum superposition don’t work is it possible that others of the weird suppositions underlying quantum mechanics such as wave-particle duality and the abstract wave-function are also just imaginings of the human mind and not really principles of physics? The next decade should tell.

MIT on quantum computers

Oxford University on quantum computers
 
Last edited:
Jan 29, 2020
136
10
1,585
An argument advanced for fusion is it stimulates laser engineering. QCs stimulate metrology and atom ground truths. I just read a paper where Magnetic Resonance is applied to dopants on a nanoparticle at liquid helium temperature. It enables one to know the electron orbital spacing of the dopants. These might be monetisable in the future as nanorods or particles of various sizes will have orbital spacings 0.1A different than in existing best databases. On its own merits, it would be useful to study the physics I studied from 2006-2013 if I had gone into lasers, or radar waveguides. QCs will not work well at ion future engine speeds or existing rocket vibrations. They are for drug development. I envision using soft levers capable of torsion motions, to make anti-virals. I imagine a West Coast hub for nanocoating and scraping off of, a central nervous system in a century. That level of precision is aided by QC papers.
 

ASK THE COMMUNITY