Quantum Computing: Who Sent the Memo? Who Read It?

May 12, 2022

I read “America Is Losing the Quantum Race with China.” Interesting because Google claimed “quantum supremacy” in 2019. NASA helped out the Google, and I wonder if the author of the Newsweek article got the memo. Then, as I recall, an IBM blog took a positive view of Google’s PR play, but in 2021 fired up its marketing system and announced it had achieved quantum supremacy (whatever this term means).

Okay, what’s the story? Is it IBM, Google, or the mysterious and semi-questionable Chinese?

The Newsweek story designed to strike fear into the hearts of those who care about keeping encrypted messaging encrypted learned:

Quantum computing, a form of high-speed calculation at the subatomic level conducted at extraordinarily cold temperatures, will bring computers to speeds barely imaginable today. Atoms, photons and electrons that operate beyond the classical laws of physics and in the realm of “quantum” can be harnessed for extraordinary computing power. Complex problems that once took years to solve could take seconds. And that means everything we know about cybersecurity—every lock secured by current encryption methods—could get blown wide open.

Yikes.

What’s the solution? Teaching American students to make change, avoid the plague of innumeracy as one expert called being sort of stupid, and reading books, not TikTok hashtags?

Here’s the fix:

President Biden’s recent moves will better coordinate our government’s efforts to prevent this nightmare scenario, by bringing federal agencies and critical infrastructure companies together to address quantum threats. It also brings the National Quantum Initiative Advisory Committee under White House control.

Sounds like a plan. However, with US firms already quantumly supreme is a committee necessary? And if the US methods fall short of the mark, there’s always PR. TikTok videos are much more important than wrestling with a differential equation.

Stephen E Arnold, May 12, 2022

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