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29-Jun-2017 14:00

Let me try to summarize the main point I’ve been trying to get across this whole time. (*) D-Wave founder Geordie Rose claims that D-Wave has now accomplished its goal of building a quantum computer that, in his words, is “better at something than any other option available.” This claim has been widely and uncritically repeated in the press, so that much of the nerd world now accepts it as fact.However, the claim is not supported by the evidence currently available.In other news, Catherine Mc Geoch spoke on Friday in the MIT quantum group meeting.Incredibly, she spoke for more than an hour, without once mentioning the USC results that found that simulated annealing on a standard laptop (when competently implemented) handily outperformed the D-Wave machine, or making any attempt to reconcile those results with hers and Wang’s.And as for the startup’s misleading claims to the public? If you can’t tune out the PR and concentrate on the science, that’s your own damn problem.

And imagine that a more relevant clinical trial—mostly unmentioned in the press—had been done, and discovered that when you compare to the right drugs, the drugs do better.It appears that, while the D-Wave machine does outperform certain off-the-shelf solvers, simulated annealing codes have been written that outperform the D-Wave machine on its own native problem when run on a standard laptop.More research is needed to clarify the issue, but in the meantime, it seems worth knowing that this is where things currently stand.This will be my final update on this post (really!!

), since the discussion seems to have reached a point where not much progress is being made, and since I’d like to oblige the commenters who’ve asked me to change the subject.

Here’s an analogy: imagine that a biotech startup claimed that, by using an expensive and controversial new gene therapy, it could cure patients at a higher rate than with the best available conventional drugs—basing its claim on a single clinical trial.



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