(Note from rrtucci: My friend Matt Swayne wrote the following piece about Suzanne’s talk. I totally agree with him. Suzanne Gildert rocks)
I had the chance to attend Suzanne Gildert’s virtual seminar on quantum computing Saturday.
Dr. Gildert is a physicist who works for D-Wave Systems, not a pioneer of quantum computing, but the pioneer in quantum computing. She’s also a blogger at Physics and Cake .
Besides serving as an overview of quantum computing systems and technology, the session was aimed at delineating between the hope and hype of quantum computing. Just like any technological revolution, quantum computing seems to divide people into two distinct camps: Luddites and Utopians. Half think that quantum computing will never happen; half think that quantum computing will automatically create a technological utopia.
Both sides are probably wrong.
After attending the seminar, I believe that we’re within a few years of a new era in quantum computing. In Winston Churchill’s words, it won’t signal the end of the quantum computing revolution. It might not even be the beginning. But it may be the end of the beginning.
I also think that Suzanne did a good job of setting expectations for what this revolution will actually mean. I don’t think QCs will change society overnight, or lead to AGI out of the gate. But it does give us an impressive tool to work with.
Following Suzanne’s presentation there was an extended discussion period about not just QC, but other technologies and the philosophical implementations that surround the notion of quantum computing–the multiverse, many worlds theory, etc. All interesting stuff.
The real takeaway for me was something that Suzanne mentioned during the chat. Hopefully more private groups and companies, who won’t be as confined in their research as government and higher ed. researchers often are, will incubate around quantum computing. That’s absolutely necessary to create a QC industry. One thing is certain, I can tell just by the level of conversation after the presentation that there is enough brain power already in the sector to build this industry.
Regrettably, Suzanne mentioned nothing about cake during the session. Perhaps a follow-up is in order.