In my previous blog post, a commenter advised me not to do an April Fools post, because they can be dangerous. I’ve chosen to follow that sound advice and play it safe. So, instead of a joke, I’m posting below, verbatim and in its entirety, a news article about quantum computing that I came across recently while reading http://english.pravda.ru/, a website in English published by Pravda.
A funny quote from Wikipedia’s article on Pravda:
As the names of the main Communist newspaper and the main Soviet newspaper, Pravda and Izvestia, meant “the truth” and “the news” respectively, a popular Russian saying was “v Pravde net izvestiy, v Izvestiyakh net pravdy” (In the Truth there is no news, and in the News there is no truth).
Warning: The views expressed by Pravda in the article below are not necessarily my own. With the festering Ukrainian crisis and Pravda’s communist history, it should come as no surprise to Americans that Pravda is currently very anti-American.
Coming Soon: The Sputnik Quantum Computer And The Pravda-Arxiv
Moscow, April 1, 2015— Pravda has learned from confidential sources that President Vladimir Putin will soon announce a bold new plan to build a Russian quantum computer before the end of the decade and also a Russian version of arXiv. arXiv is the leading website on the Internet for publishing the scientific research of all countries.
Russian Quantum Computer
On October 4, 1957, the USSR was the first nation to put a man-made satellite, the Sputnik 1, in orbit around the earth. This started a Space Race between the USA and the USSR.
On May 25, 1961, American president John F. Kennedy announced before a special session of Congress an ambitious goal for his nation. He said “I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth.”
On Jun 20, 1969, the Apollo 11 mission landed on the moon and was safely back on earth 4 days later. This meant America had won the Space Race.
President Putin believes strongly that Russia can beat the USA this time, in the Quantum Space Race.
President Putin has persuaded Kitaev to leave his post as professor at Caltech, a prestigious American university, and to return to the motherland to direct the construction of a topological quantum computer (QC), a type of computer which Kitaev invented while working at the Landau Institute for Theoretical Physics, near Moscow. Kitaev has received many awards, including a MacArthur Fellowship and a Milner prize of 3 million US dollars, for his invention of the topological QC and related work.
Great advances have been made by Microsoft and others in building a topological QC, and it is now thought that all the ingredients for building such a computer are already in place and it’s only a matter of time and engineering before it’s built. President Putin’s advisers estimate that a topological QC can be built for 100 to 200 million dollars, which is pocket change for a large country like Russia, and the ROI for such an investment would be enormous.
Yuri Milner, a billionaire venture capitalist, has agreed to start an international company that will commercialize the device produced by Kitaev’s team. Milner is a Russian living in Santa Clara, California. He is best known for having established and endowed the “Milner Prize” for fundamental physics research.
Milner has already signed a deal with the start-up Canadian QC software company Artiste to write the software for the Sputnik QC. A new language, PyQMeld, will be used for this purpose.
Russian Version of arXiv Sorely Needed
President Putin will also soon announce another bombshell which will take many naive Americans by surprise, but which Russian scientists have been predicting for a long time.
President Putin is very displeased with what he considers American imperialism and interventionism in the Ukraine. And, according to Putin, American imperialism extends far beyond the Ukraine, into the very heart and soul of worldwide scientific research.
If a country were to have a total monopoly over the means of dissemination of scientific research for the whole world, such a country would wield tremendous power over all other countries. Scientific research is, after all, the goose that lays the golden eggs. President Putin believes that the USA has such a monopoly through arXiv.
Virtually 99.9% of the physics and mathematics research papers from the whole world are disseminated via a website called arXiv. On the surface, arXiv appears to be headed by someone called Paul Ginsparg, but KGB investigators have presented President Putin with clear evidence that arXiv is ultimately controlled by the American government.
According to a report prepared by the KGB, this Paul Ginsparg is a J.Edgar Hoover-like government official who rules arXiv with an iron fist. The Internet is full of stories of people who were banned or censored by arXiv, a cruel and needless action by arXiv (after all, electronic publishing costs are almost nothing compared with paper publishing costs). Such a ban often means the professional death of its victims. The KGB has presented President Putin with clear evidence that such actions were routinely undertaken by arXiv as a form of reprisal for unpopular political views, or for crossing Ginsparg or his cronies, although one cannot tell for sure what the reasons were, because there is no transparency in the so called arXiv appeal process. Some at the KGB refer to Paul Ginsparg as the Grand Inquisitor Tomás de Torquemada, because he decides which scientific papers and theories are heretical and which are not, and sends mercilessly those he doesn’t like to their professional death. Galileo would have never been allowed to publish in arXiv.
President Putin believes that the American government, which is by no means powerless to curb arXiv, is ultimately responsible for all this mind-control, and repressive, vindictive arXiv behavior—the same American government that likes to portray itself as a paragon of virtue, democracy and freedom.
In a rare concerted effort, the Russian, Chinese and UK delegates to the United Nations will soon propose to that international body that it establish a UN organization to take charge of arXiv. They will argue that there is a pressing need for an international body to which those being persecuted by arXiv can appeal in a transparent and fair manner. If that move does not succeed, President Putin is prepared to ask the Russian Academy of Sciences to build a Russian arXiv website that espouses freedom and democracy, unlike the current American one. He also intends to ban Russian scientists from using the American arXiv.
Victims of Persecution
Most notable among those who have been censored by arXiv is Cambridge University Professor and Nobel prize winner Brian Josephson. Professor Josephson has waged a war against arXiv for many years, as evinced by his home page and the Archive Freedom website which he help found.
As an example of Professor Josephson’s frustration with arXiv, here is a comment submitted by him to a web magazine called “Homolog.us – Bioinformatics”
August 26, 2013 at 10:45 am
“Hopefully there will be additional clarifications on the appeal policy, and lack of transparency on which authors get blacklisted or whether individual arxiv administrators can block a paper for personal or political reasons.”
I think you’ll have to wait a very long time before you’ll get any ‘additional clarifications’ from arxiv. You just got a robotic response, as is their norm. If you follow it up further, you will be told that there are other places where people can post it they don’t like arxiv’s policies.
Some Pravda readers may say; “And who is this chap Josephson, anyway? I know he got a Nobel prize for his discovery of superconductive effects, but he did so at a very early age. Maybe he quickly thereafter went daffy or irresponsible, and therefore his scientific research and theories do not deserve to be published in arXiv.”
Pravda readers who question whether Professor Josephson is qualified to post his papers on arXiv are exhorted to investigate Professor Josephson further. To start them thinking, here is a quote from the en.wikipedia article on him:
American physicist Philip Anderson, also a Nobel Prize winner, spent a year in Cambridge in 1961–1962, and recalled that having Josephson in a class was “a disconcerting experience for a lecturer, I can assure you, because everything had to be right or he would come up and explain it to me after class.” It was during this period, as a PhD student in 1962, that he carried out the research that led to his discovery of the Josephson effect;
Another brilliant British scientist that considers arXiv highly unjust is Philip Gibbs. To fight arXiv’s pernicious influence, Dr. Gibbs has established a repository called viXra that clones most of arXiv’s features. Dr. Gibbs has accomplished this remarkable feat of courage and technical prowess virtually single-handedly and on a shoe string budget, with no government funds. Paul Ginsparg, by comparison, has an army of people at his disposal and an annual budget of nearly 1 million dollars (wikipedia quote: “The annual budget for arXiv is approximately $826,000 for 2013–17 “)
Unfortunately, the policy of “separate but equal” has been shown by American history not to work. One wonders how permanent viXra will be. Will the viXra repository be erased after Philip Gibbs is gone? The arXiv search engine doesn’t list viXra results, and Google lists arXiv references first and foremost, so viXra papers might as well not exist. Also, the scientific establishment deprecates viXra citations (it’s unheard of for a mainstream scientific journal like Nature magazine or Physical Review to cite a reference from viXra).
Once again, Pravda readers may wonder about Dr. Gibbs qualifications. Once again, Pravda readers are encouraged to investigate Dr.Gibbs background and his views. He has a very well written and thoughtful blog called viXra log. From this webpage, we learned that in the 1978 British Mathematical Olympiad, he tied for first place with Richard Borcherds, and that he was awarded a PhD in 1985 by the Univ. of Glasgow. Gibbs describes himself as an independent researcher with no university affiliation.
Clearly, Dr. Gibbs has paid his dues to publish in arXiv by earning a PhD. One would think that this would be enough to fend off the arXiv censors. One would think that his university would have come to his defense when he was being censored by arXiv. After all, they awarded him a PhD. He has their seal of approval. Questioning Gibbs qualifications is tantamount to questioning his university’s qualifications. One would think that university professors, who are known to train 20 times more PhD’s than there are academic positions to fill, would be protective towards those PhD’s who didn’t get an academic job. Instead, those university professors seem to ostracize and thwart at every turn the efforts of non-Academic PhD’s. One is reminded of Goya’s painting of Saturn Devouring His Son.
arXiv insists that people who submit their papers to arXiv are obligated to submit their papers also to a peer reviewed journal. In fact, some people have been banned under the excuse that they did not submit “enough” to peer reviewed journals. In reality, this rule is applied arbitrarily by arXiv. arXiv cronies routinely publish documents in arXiv that are clearly not appropriate material for a peer reviewed research journal. Independent researchers like Gibbs are left out, because they cannot afford the more than a thousand dollars that it costs to publish in a peer reviewed journal. The vast majority of the 100 highest impact scientific journals are of course owned and operated by rich American and European countries (not by poor countries from say, Africa or South America). Thus, arXiv can be seen to be in cahoots with the journal publishers from rich countries to perpetuate their monopoly.
Prior Warning Shots
Actually, Russian scientists have been warning President Putin about the reprehensible behavior of arXiv for a long time. In the past, President Putin has responded in moderation to these warnings, by abolishing the Russian arXiv mirror. But his past measures no longer seem sufficient.
Indeed, the readers are referred to arXiv’s webpage listing its mirror sites. According to that page, arXiv currently has 8 mirror sites, including 2 in the USA, 3 in Europe (Spain, France, Germany) one in each of India, China and Japan. There are currently zero arXiv mirror sites in the UK, Australia, Russia, or in any South or Central American country, or in any African country, or in any predominantly Arab or Muslim country. Does that sound like a monopoly to Pravda’s readers?
More than 10 arXiv mirror sites have closed since 2007, including sites in Russia, Brazil, UK, Australia and South Africa. The arXiv web page claims that arXiv is purposefully reducing the number of mirror sites to increase efficiency. Perhaps, but then again, monopolies also make similar claims. Pravda was unable to confirm whether the discontinued mirrors stopped providing their valuable service because they decided themselves to do so, or because they were asked to do so. Maybe some Americans think Russia stopped providing this service because it is too poor, or too irresponsible, or too technologically backwards, or too disinterested in Science, to maintain an arXiv mirror site, but Pravda assures its readers that this is not the case.
Pravda sent email to Dr. Paul Ginsparg to solicit his reaction to the announcement of a Russian arXiv. This was his reply: “We don’t need no stinking Russian papers. All of us Americans know deep in our hearts that Russian papers are of inferior quality, just like their technology. The American press has reported about the inferior quality of Russian technology for years. That’s why I’ve banned so many Russians from arXiv already. Who is this Putin? I’ve never heard of him. I am Paul Ginsparg, the inventor of arXiv. Future generations will utter the names Gutenberg and Ginsparg in the same breath. I answer to no one except the Simons Foundation. The Ginspargs talk only to the Simons, and the Simons talk only to God”. According to the KGB, James Harris Simons is an American oligarch who made billions of dollars with government help.