Scott Aaronson Visits D-Wave – No Casualties Reported

Those following the quantum computing story and D-Wave are well aware of the controversial scuffle between Scott and the company.  So it’s quite newsworthy that according to Scott’s own accord the hatchet has been buried. No more comparing the D‑Wave One to a roast beef sandwich (hopefully BLT is out of the picture too).

Scott is still taking on D-Wave’s pointy-haired bosses though.  He wants them to open the purse-strings to determine more clearly how “quantum” the Rainier chip really is.

Unfortunately, I think he overlooks that pointy-haired bosses are only interested in the bottom line.  At this point there is nothing stopping D-Wave from selling their system as a quantum computer. Not a universal one but who’s counting.  Any closer inquiry into the nature of their qbits only carries the danger to add qualifiers to this claim.  So why should they bother?

In terms of marketing, the label “Quantum Computer” is just a nice nifty term signifying to potential customers that this is a shiny, cool new device.  Something different.  It is supposed to serve as a door opener for sales.  Afterwards it just comes down to the price/performance ratio.

At this point D-Wave One sales won’t benefit from further clarifying how much entanglement is occurring in their system – I see this only change once there is actual competition in this space.

Update:  I finally don’t have to develop a cognitive dissonance about adding Scott’s and D‑Wave’s blog to my blogroll. So to celebrate this historic peace accord this is my next step in the development of this most important website.  BTW if you still need an argument why it is worthwhile to pay attention to Scott, treat yourself to his TedX talk (h/t to Perry Hooker).

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