June must have been a rough month for the Google/D-Wave collaboration. A paper by Matthias Troyer et al which I quote below has been available at arXiv for a long time, in fact since January, but when it was published by Science magazine on June 19, all hell broke loose. The news media finally noticed the paper’s existence and came out in surprisingly large numbers to point out that the D-Wave computer had “flunked its first big test”. The Troyer et al paper concludes
“Using random spin glass instances as a benchmark, we find no evidence of quantum speedup when the entire data set is considered, and obtain inconclusive results when comparing subsets of instances on an instance-by-instance basis,”
Ouch, those words gotta hurt. Even cold hearted Scott Aaronson must feel a little sorry for D-Wave at this point.
To add Google-insult to Google-injury, the news media (including the NY Times, see here) has also started to trumpet the fact that, unlike doofus Google, Microsoft has been methodically subsidizing Gate Model QC research for about 15 years, and that research is beginning to bear fruit. Microsoft has a theoretical group called Station Q located at UCSB (Univ. of Calf. at Santa Barbara) doing research into anyonic QCs. They also have a small group of people writing generic gate model QC software. Also, for the last 15 years, they have been partially funding about a dozen experimental research groups throughout the world that are trying to build an anyonic QC. It appears that Robert Willet, working at the legendary Bell Labs in Murray Hill, N.J. (the little of it that still exists), is closest to building an anyonic qubit.
Last but not least, there is some evidence of civil Google-disobedience inside the very heart of Google country. Haker Dojo, the SETI Institute and the Googleplex (Google HQ) are all located in Mountain View CA (near San Francisco).
Haker Dojo has been hosting a MeetUp on quantum computing with roughly monthly events. For July 8, they have invited Nathan Wiebe from Microsoft, to speak about “Using quantum computers to learn physics”. This is a decidedly gate model talk, much to the consternation of Google. Like myself, Wiebe has written papers on using gate model QCs to do machine learning.
Meanwhile, SETI Institute is ringing another note of Google-disobedience by hosting on July 9 the first of what they hope will become an annual event, a FREE (as in beer) conference on Quantum Simulation. Their list of speakers for this year’s conference includes both gate-model and D-Wave partisans.