## Currently Quantum Computers Might Be Where Rockets Were At the Time of Goddard 112

schwit1 writes:

*If quantum computing is at the Goddard level that would be a good thing for quantum computing. This means that the major fundamental breakthrough that would put them over the top was in hand and merely a lot of investment, engineering and scaling was needed. The goal of being able to solve NP-hard or NP-Complete problems with quantum computers is similar to being able to travel to the moon, mars or deeper into space with rockets. Conventional flight could not achieve those goals because of the lack of atmosphere in space. Current computing seems like they are very limited in being able to tackle NP-hard and NP Complete problems. Although clever work in advanced mathematics and approximations can give answers that are close on a case by case basis.*
## Re: And monkeys might .... (Score:2)

What a hopeless article. Yes, real quantum computing would be cool, and D-Wave has been doing quantum-y things with investor money for a decade or so, and scientists have developed improved more standard kinds of quantum computers to the point that they can now factor 21, surpassing the record of factoring 15 that held for a few years, and maybe sometime in the future quantum computers will be as far advanced beyond that as today's rockets are beyond the ones Goddard had on paper a century ago or his early

## Na, it's marketing hype. (Score:3, Interesting)

hasto be a world-changing technology, right? I just don't see it. The hardware is difficult to build / maintain, doesn't scale, and so far nobody is quite sure what to even do with it.It's just a way to suck money out of venture capitalists and keep people busy in ivory towers. There's a reason that so many companies have the word 'quantum' in their name. It's all marketing hype.

## Re: (Score:3)

I for one can't wait to play video games on my new Quantum computer.

Bring it on, the graphics will be awesome!

## Re: (Score:2)

I for one can't wait to play video games on my new Quantum computer.

The downside is that the games will only run when the computer is turned off.

## Re: (Score:2)

## Every new technology... (Score:5, Insightful)

Give something a fancy name and by-God it has to be a world-changing technology, right? I just don't see it.

So because you can't understand it, it must not be of any consequence? I think that says more about you than it does about the technology.

The hardware is difficult to build / maintain, doesn't scale, and so far nobody is quite sure what to even do with it.

That sounds like pretty much every new technology ever. The first computers were difficult to build and maintain, didn't scale well and people weren't entirely sure what to do with them outside of a few narrow use cases. The first airplanes were difficult to build and maintain, didn't scale well, and... etc. We figured it out eventually. Probably will with quantum computing too in due time.

## Re: (Score:2)

So because you can't understand it, it must not be of any consequence?

If you're spouting such straw man platitudes, then you don't know enough about quantum computers to condemn someone else. In the defense of the previous poster, I'll note that there are a number of phenomena that permeate all of the Solar System (gravity, neutrinos, and thermal radiation) that may place an upper bound on the reliability of quantum computing no matter how magical your technology is.

## Give specific technical arguments or go away (Score:2)

If you're spouting such straw man platitudes, then you don't know enough about quantum computers to condemn someone else.

You might have a point if his argument was something more nuanced than "it's hard and I don't understand how it will ever work" with a few marketing = boogeyman slams thrown in for good measure. Maybe quantum computers will be a thing and maybe they won't but he sure as hell doesn't know. If you want to claim quantum computers will never work then present some compelling technical evidence to support that position. Otherwise shut up and let the researchers do their job.

In the defense of the previous poster, I'll note that there are a number of phenomena that permeate all of the Solar System (gravity, neutrinos, and thermal radiation) that may place an upper bound on the reliability of quantum computing no matter how magical your technology is.

"May place an upper bound"? Sounds

## Re: (Score:1)

The burden of proof is on you to explain how it DOES work.

I have read countless papers as well as summaries on the subject, and despite not being qualified to BUILD a quantum computer I can quite confidently state that 99% of the claims made about them are utter BS.

The only thing true in this article is that we are over a decade from POSSIBLY seeing any decent results from this.

There are many great proof-of-concept PARTS of a quantum computer system, but the number of qubits that are currently attainable is

## Re: (Score:2)

## Burden of proof (Score:2)

The burden of proof is on you to explain how it DOES work.

No it isn't. I'm not trying to prove or disprove them and never claimed otherwise. If you want to claim that they cannot work then you need to provide a testable theorem to back that up. If you want to claim that they can work same thing applies. If you are merely trying to refute claims that someone has developed a quantum computer when they haven't then you merely need to clarify your position.

Here is what I think we know right now. Some scientists apparently have created functional quantum computers

## Re: (Score:2)

You might have a point if his argument was something more nuanced than "it's hard and I don't understand how it will ever work" with a few marketing = boogeyman slams thrown in for good measure.

It was. You mischaracterize the post in question.

## Re: (Score:2)

I mean, it probably *will* be world-changing technology, but "Goddard stage" is not a useful term. There are experiments, proof-of-concept products, prototypes, and production products. Quantum Computing doesn't have anything approaching a "quantum chip" where it's just a question of manufacturing details. It's just barely beyond proof-of-concept stage. There's nothing approaching a prototype of a quantum processor that can do useful work. IBM claims they have a design for a scalable processor, but you

## Re: (Score:3)

When trains were a big deal, everything was "express." It's the whole reason we even use "express" to mean what it does today. When we first harnessed the atom, everything had to have something to do with radioactive junk, until such time as we figured out that was a bad idea. There's a reason the Fallout series is full of that stuff: the period it is supposed to be imitating did the same thing. In the jet age, we had the same deal as with trains, and that's also wh

## Fundamental Break through (Score:1, Funny)

So what you're saying is we need Nazis.

## guys come on. (Score:1)

## Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

With quantum computing, you have an old Ford that's broken down but not broken down at the same time. You simply ignore the broken down state and choose to use the working one. Problem solved.

## Re: (Score:2)

With classical computing, you're in a car and stuck behind that tractor with harvesting/whatever equipment or carrying hay stacks, taking almost all the width of the road.

With quantum computing, there's a probably the tractor will vanish or get teleported in the nearby field, which will clear the way out and allow you to escape (car can pass the second gear). There is a 1:(((10^128)^128)^128)^128) probability for that to happen, though.

## Or not (Score:5, Insightful)

Because rockets were actually working at that point, maybe not refined, but still useful. Quantum computer is not useful in any way at this time.

Quantum computing is still at the mumbo jumbo stage where they make really bold claims about what it can do in 1 or 2 really specific instances that all of 8 people on the planet care about, but then never follow through with a quantum machine that out performs a classical one in any way.

Oh, and the answer(s) may not even be right and has to be checked using classical methods anyway.

## Re: (Score:3)

Oh, and the answer(s) may not even be right and has to be checked using classical methods anyway.

One of the primary characteristics of NP problems is that solutions are hard to find but easy to verify. It will take longer than the lifetime of the universe to find the best solution to a thousand city travelling salesman problem. But it takes less than a millisecond to verify that it is better than the previous best known path.

## Re: (Score:2)

The real smoking gun is "how will we ever know that they are correct?" Assuming they are turned onto the problems they excel at (NP problems), it may be impossible to verify their answers are correct without a true breakthrough in mathematics.

To use the example you were replying to, if it can get a better answer to the "travelling salesman" problem faster than a conventional computer

then it would still be very useful even if we can't prove that it's the optimal solution. Neural nets are in a similar state today and are quite useful

even if we don't know exactly how the individual weights get the correct solution and even if the answers aren't perfect.

The problem I see with quantum computers is that it seems to be all smoke and mirrors. I don't

## Re: (Score:2)

You have misunderstood what NP means. One way to put it is that, if we are given a candidate solution, we can check that it is a solution in polynomial time. If quantum computers were capable of solving NP-complete problems, we could verify on conventional computers.

DNA computing looks a lot like genetic algorithms or simulated annealing to me: a general approximation technique that may or may not work on a given type of problem.

There is no evidence that expectations alter quantum behavior.

## Re: (Score:2)

Oh, and the answer(s) may not even be right and has to be checked using classical methods anyway.

One of the primary characteristics of NP problems is that solutions are hard to find but easy to verify. It will take longer than the lifetime of the universe to find the best solution to a thousand city travelling salesman problem. But it takes less than a millisecond to verify that it is better than the previous best known path.

Solution: Keep N=1 and nobody gets hurt! Done! ARE YOU LISTENING TO THIS NOBEL COMMITTEE??? You can just send me the big check now please.

## Re: (Score:2)

Clarificaation: the traveling salesman, as usually stated, is not in NP. Unless it can be solved in polynomial time, it's not possible to verify that we've got the cheapest path in polynomial time. It's equivalent to determining if we can find a path that costs no more than X, which can easily be verified and therefore is in NP, and if we can solve one version in polynomial time we can solve the other one.

## Re: (Score:1)

Not only were rockets working, they had been in practical use for centuries.

Maybe this would be correct if we said “outer space rockets” specifically. The principles were pretty well understood, but we couldn't yet build one.

## Not to be taken seriously (Score:5, Interesting)

Quantum computers

cannot solveNP-Hard or NP-Complete problems -- at least, no faster than a classical computer. This is one of the most basic results in the field, and the author keeps on making hash of it. This article should not be taken seriously if it's rife with such basic errors.## Re: (Score:2)

## Re: (Score:3)

(which, incidentally, _assumes_ P != NP).

That is actually a pretty good assumption, which millions of people implicitly make every day, by say, using cryptography that is only secure if P!=NP.

## Re: (Score:2)

I'd say cryptography is still secure if the time complexity is something like n^80.

## Re: (Score:2)

I'd say cryptography is still secure if the time complexity is something like n^80.

You are underestimating exponential complexity. If you are using 1024 bit encryption, then 1024^80 is way, way, way, way smaller than 2^1024. The difference is more than that between the a single planck time and the age of the Universe.

## Re: (Score:2)

Dude, I know how to math. 1024^80 is still much larger than the age of the universe in Planck times.

## Re: (Score:2)

However, 4^80 == 2^160, which is far too big to brute-force. 2^80 itself is too big to brute-force currently, but I don't really know the bounds of what might be brute-forceable under what assumptions (like limiting the attack to the resources of the Solar System from now to the heat death of the Universe).

## Re: (Score:1)

## Re: (Score:1)

Yes, and then the article goes right on as if quantum computers could solve NP-complete problems in polynomial time.

## Re: (Score:3)

## Re: (Score:2)

Jeez, what a stupid analogy.

## Yeah, but... (Score:3)

To be fair, no one apart from a few vested interests are claiming that quantum computers are some sort of magical panacea. But just like modern graphics GPUs, they could be built into ordinary computers and used when the problem domain suits their capabilities.

## It ain't an article... (Score:2)

## Re: (Score:2)

Article? Article! We do not read TFA!!

This!

Is!

Slashdooooot!!

*kicks AchilleTalon in the chest*

## Not an advertisement either... (Score:3)

Even after parsing the confusing sentence structure in the first couple paragraphs, I gave up before figuring out exactly how the figures (which look like snapshots of some PowerPoint lecture or presentation? What's the source??) tie in with their overall thesis - which seems to be some poorly formed analogy between the history of flight and qu

## Re: (Score:2, Informative)

Quantum computers

cannot solveNP-Hard or NP-Complete problems -- at least, no faster than a classical computer. This is one of the most basic results in the field, and the author keeps on making hash of it.No, in fact the basic result in the field is that it

isn't knownif quantum computers can solve NP-Hard or NP-Complete problems more efficiently than a classical computer.From a accessible article (http://www.cs.virginia.edu/~robins/The_Limits_of_Quantum_Computers.pdf):"The question thus remains unanswered: Is there an efficient quantum algorithm to solve NP-complete problems? Despite much trying, no such algorithm has been found—though not surprisingly, computer scientists cannot prove that it does## Re: (Score:3)

## Re: (Score:2)

## Re: (Score:2)

## Re: (Score:2)

I didn't say it was proven. I said it was a result. We don't have a formal proof that P != NP, but find me a single practitioner who thinks we'll find a proof of P = NP.

At some level math works on the basis of consensus. Consensus determines whether we accept a proof or reject it for omitting an important step; consensus determines which axioms we accept to be true. And so far, the consensus seems to be "BQP != NP, just like P != NP."

But yes, we're going to keep looking for the proofs. :)

## Re: (Score:2)

I've noticed that the hacks are now trying to avoid Betterage when writing headlines too. This one could so easily have been phrased as a question. It's like they are clever enough to know that they are being mocked but not clever enough to actually avoid the thing they are being mocked for (ignorance).

## Re: (Score:2)

Is this proven? Or is it one of those things that are assumed to be true (with good reason). I thought all of the time complexity classes are still essentially open questions.

## Re: (Score:2)

Depends on what you mean by proven. It's believed about as strongly as people believe P != NP. There's zero evidence BQP can address NP-Complete (or, for that matter, even interesting parts of NP), and a lot of good reasons to believe it can't. However, a proof has been as elusive as the P != NP proof -- another thing which pretty much every CS nerd agrees to be true, but it hasn't been rigorously proven yet.

## So are all new technologies (Score:2)

Goddard was the father of modern rocketry (perhaps 5000 years of Chinese fireworks aside ;-), so really any fundamentally new technology is at it's "Goddard level". But it is amazing to think about what Robert Goddard was doing compared to a truly modern launch system, and apply that to what researchers are doing with quantum computing. Where will that be in 80 years? I wish I could be alive to see it.

## Quantum isn't a magic bullet for NP-hard problems (Score:1)

If the person who wrote the article understood the first slide they included, it even shows that the class polynomial time quantum algorithms (BQP) probably don't include NP-complete problems and it says something to that affect. Wiki is better:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantum_computing#Relation_to_computational_complexity_theory

## Dumbed down explanation (Score:2, Informative)

Stripping off the D-Wave Quantum nonsense:

http://phys.org/news/2014-06-independent-group-d-wave-quantum-speedup.html

"(Phys.org) —An independent research team with members affiliated with several universities in the U.S. and Switzerland has concluded that the D-Wave Two computer shows no signs of quantum speedup"

-----

It does a calculation known as 'constrained minimization'. so for a function f(x1,x2,x3....) where x1 has limits on acceptable values (constraints), x2 has limits, x2,...and so on, calcula

## the logic of analogies (Score:2)

Currently EM Propulsion [slashdot.org] is also in early development like Quantum Computers, so EM Drives Might Be Where Rockets Were At the Time of Goddard, but we currently use rockets instead of EM drives, so... umm... the Time of Goddard is now?

## Goddard? Not so fast... (Score:5, Informative)

"Currently Quantum Computers Might Be Where Rockets Were At the Time of Goddard"

Designed on totally incorrect physics?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

The true revolutionaries of rocket propulsion all have German last names.

## Re: (Score:3)

## Re: (Score:3)

Eh, Goddard quickly learned that didn't work and went on to make this:

http://i.space.com/images/i/00... [space.com]

Where Goddard failed apparently was in his paranoid insistence on secrecy.

## Re: (Score:3)

Well, that's an ignorant comment of yours. The mods need to do a little checking before modding up.

Here (http://airandspace.si.edu/explore-and-learn/multimedia/detail.cfm?id=2888) is a picture from the mid-30's of Goddard with one of his rockets which was equivalent or better than the Germans' at the time.

Here (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_H._Goddard) is a statement by von Braun himself about Goddard's work:

"Nevertheless, in 1963, von Braun, reflecting on the history of rocketry, said of Goddard: "

## Re: (Score:1)

## Non-locality (Score:2)

I know quantum stuff is hard to pin down, but not knowing where Qumputing is by a century-wide error band is pretty bad.

/ streeeeeeeeetch

## No, it's not like being able to travel to the moon (Score:1)

OP writes: "The goal of being able to solve NP-hard or NP-Complete problems with quantum computers is similar to being able to travel to the moon, mars or deeper into space with rockets."

Not even close. There was never any reason to believe that traveling to the moon was fundamentally impossible. That was an engineering problem, and no known nor suspected laws of physics prohibited it.

Solving NP-complete problems efficiently (polynomial time) with quantum computers may is a mathematical problem, however --

## So all it would take would be a war? (Score:2)

## This article is ignoring Micron Automata (Score:2)

Micron Automata can solve NP-hard programs very quickly, and it's not quantum computer.

It abandons the Von Neumann model we have been using or last 60 years and can achieve very high parallelism.

And it requires a very different style of programming.

But it's not quantum computer. And it's actually working, running in Micron's labs and very soon coming to market.

Quantum computers are hype that's not really working, Micron automata is the real thing achieving mostly the same benefits.

## Wishful thinking (Score:1)

## Yeah sure, this and nuclear fusion, right? (Score:3)

Big breakthrough just around the corner!

## Balderdash (Score:1)

## unfortunate comparision (Score:2)

Currently Quantum Computers Might Be Where Rockets Were At the Time of Goddard

So the New York Times thinks it's a bunch of bunk [nytimes.com], then...

## Unfortunately, it is not (Score:3)

Quantum computing is about where teleportation, strong AI, a perfect cure for cancer, etc. is, namely it is completely unclear whether it will ever work. All this bullshit about Quantum Computing is just that: Bullshit. We do not even know whether the physics allows it, all we know is that the current theory (which we know is incomplete and inaccurate) would allow it if it was accurate.

## Re: (Score:2)

Quantum computing requires perfect scalability. Effects that are unmeasurable at 1 or 10 qbits can easily kill calculations with 100 qbits completely. As there are no entangled systems with 100 qbits, it is unclear whether such inaccuracies are there or not. Practical applications, incidentally, require likely 1000 entangled qbits and more.

So, no, "unmeasurable" at current entanglement numbers are meaningless to predict feasibility at higher numbers. And much higher numbers are needed before quantum computi

## Re: (Score:2)

Indeed. One way to find out may be to find that Quantum Computers do not actually work. What they can currently compute could well be caused by entirely different effects. Factorizing 12 does not take entanglement.

Thanks for the link, fascinating stuff! I think physicists in that area have some time ago lost the ability to understand and handle their own models. Or Douglas Adams was right after all.

## Quantum Airlines (Score:1)

I thought it just functionally added massive parallelism, and didn't really solve this, by offloading the calculations into the quantum path space.

## What and where? (Score:2)

Currently Quantum Computers Might Be Where Rockets Were At the Time of Goddard

I'm not sure stacking computers on make-shift launch pads in the middle of the desert would be helpful. Or did I misread that?

## Re: (Score:1)

You are probably tight but for the wrong reasons. I have worked developing a Strong AI algorithm for over twenty years, and have developed a basic quantum model of quantum computation in the brain. From this perspective q-bits are a big part of the problem, created with insufficient lateral thinking and an insufficient grasp of the problems of quantum coherence above the quantum limit.

In the brain the quantum element gives a massive performance boost - so much so that without it complex brains basically wo