Quantum Bayesian Networks

October 23, 2017

Vicious Game of Battleship Currently Being Played in Quantum Computing Software World Between IBM and Google

Filed under: Uncategorized — rrtucci @ 4:48 pm

The competition between IBM and Google to hog the quantum computing limelight has been fairly intense this year. The following 2 high stakes games of Battleship are currently being played. Yikes. (Footnote: Google seems to have decided to marry the opaque, poorly designed software of ProjectQ so I lump them together below.)


Thanks son. You have crushed my spirit and now I will divorce your mom and leave you to her with no alimony.


October 18, 2017

One small step for Qubiter, one giant step for Alibaba

Filed under: Uncategorized — rrtucci @ 10:06 pm

In a previous blog post, I used the example of teleportation of a 1 qubit state to compare 3 popular quantum computer simulators: (1) artiste-qb.net’s Qubiter (of which I am the main author), (2) IBM’s Quantum Experience and (3) Microsoft’s Liqui|> sequel. I gave many reasons why I think Qubiter is much better than the other 2 (clearer, simpler, more logical design, more commands, open source under BSD license, Python, many Jupyter notebooks, includes translators from Qubiter’s qasm to IBM’s qasm and soon to Google’s qasm, …)

Today, I am proud to announce that Qubiter now has 2 of its Jupyter notebooks in both English and Chinese (translator: Dr. Tao Yin, CTO of artiste-qb.net, living in Shenzhen, China)

Alibaba must have heard about our Chinese notebooks and decided to match our move and better it by a smidgen. On Oct 10, 2017, they announced to the press that they are planning to spend $15B over the next 3 years on moonshot projects like AI and quantum computing. At the same time, they unveiled at a conference a quantum computing cloud service.

October 17, 2017

Hartmut Neven’s impeccable taste for fashion

Filed under: Uncategorized — rrtucci @ 4:37 pm

Hartmut Neven is the impresario of Google’s quantum computing effort (Martinis’ Pomeranian dog, Qubit, is the real scientific master mind behind the operation. Martinis and his mules just follow Qubit’s orders). As far back as 2013, I have jested about Neven’s faith in the Everett many-worlds-interpretation (MWI) of quantum mechanics, a religion which I find ridiculous, with no physical evidence or utility. Today I’ve read a somewhat gossipy quantum computing article in the Wall Street Journal that confirms my suspicion that Neven’s faith in MWI remains steadfast 4 years later. Luckily, Neven’s bad taste for interpretations of quantum mechanics is more than compensated by his superb sense of fashion. The same WSJ article informed me of something that I have long wanted to know, the provenance of Neven’s magical sneakers: they are “Christian Louboutin sneakers”. Gone are the Silicon Valley fashion-challenged days in which all serious Silicon Valley entrepreneurs wore jeans and a black turtle neck to emulate Steve Jobs.

Possible captions

  • Google should force this man to wear a tie and suit
  • Microsoft stands no chance against the owner of Joseph’s magical multicolored dreamcoat.
  • Google’s German Michael Jackson doing the Google Moonwalk
  • Google’s Nevenator wishes you an “Hasta la vista Baby”
  • Martinis’ antiparticle, Martinis when he lets his hair down.
  • Now I am become Neven, the creator of many worlds.

More of my Neven blog posts.

October 3, 2017

A Microsoft Quantum Computing language by any other name would smell as badly

Filed under: Uncategorized — rrtucci @ 3:31 am

On September 25-29, 2017, Microsoft held its IGNITE conference at Orlando, FL. Arstechnica reported about IGNITE here. They usually publish quantum computing articles that are more balanced and well informed than the average sci-tech popular journal. This time though, I think Arstechnica dropped the ball badly. This article sounds to me like a glorified infomercial for MS. However, I did learn a few curious facts from it.

The article reports that MS intends to release by the end of this year a “quantum programming language—as yet unnamed” for programming quantum computers. The language will be distributed with Visual Studio and available on Azure, the MS cloud service. Let me henceforth call it language Q?#. The article gives the following snapshot of a quantum teleportation circuit written in this marvelous new language. A Rube Goldberg machine language if I ever saw one. Also, sounds like this ugly baby is going to be CLOSED SOURCE, just like LiquiD. (Click image to enlarge)

Mysteriously, no mention is made of Liqui|>, MS’s previous “quantum programming language”. Since Q?# comes a short time after Liqui|> and Dave Wecker is the main author of both, it is safe to assume that Q?# is just a new wrapper with Liqui|> under the hood. (Some have gone so far as to suggest that the new language should be called LiquidShit#).

But friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears. I have come here to bury Q?#, not to praise it. Next, I will show the code for the same quantum Teleportation 3 qubit circuit, but written instead in IBM’s qasm language and in Qubiter’s language.

IBM’s github repository called qiskit-tutorial has a Jupyter notebook for this same teleportation circuit. Here is a snapshot taken from the notebook showing IBM qasm for the teleportation circuit.

The Qubiter repo at github also has a Jupyter notebook for the same teleportation circuit. Here is a snapshot taken from the notebook showing Qubiter’s English and Picture files for the teleportation circuit.

And now, let me indicate a few reasons why I think Qubiter (which I wrote) is nicer than the other two.

  • Qubiter allows one to write controlled gates with any number of controls, and the controls can be of two types T or F. (T controls are usually represented in latex pictures of quantum circuits by a solid dot, F controls by a hollow dot). Qubiter also has subroutines that allow one to expand each gate with multiple controls into a sequence of gates with only one or zero controls, because those simpler gates are the only type of gates that most hardware devices can perform physically. IBM’s qasm so far only allows one or two controls of type T only. They have CNOT and CCNOT and that’s it.
  • Qubiter automatically generates an ASCII picture of the circuit at the same time that it generates its English qasm-like file. IBM’s q-software and LiquiD do not write a picture of the circuit automatically. If they draw a circuit, it requires a separate run to generate it and the picture is in Latex. Also, their circuit pictures have time running from left to right instead of downwards. Qubiter’s English and Picture files, on the other hand, have the highly desirable properties–especially desirable for long circuits–that (1) time runs downward in both English and Picture files, and (2) line number n in the English file corresponds to line number n in the Picture file.
  • IBM qasm and LiquiD distinguish between quantum and classical registers. Qubiter only has quantum registers. Classical registers are an unnecessary, ugly complication because the information stored in them can be stored in the memory of your pc.

Two other languages, Rigetti’s PyQuil and ProjectQ, are similar to IBM qasm and suffer from some of the same architectural design flaws mentioned above.

UPDATE: Microsoft released their Rube Goldberg “quantum language” with much fanfare on Dec. 11, 2017. They called it, after so much suspense, simply Q#. MS is not known for their creativity in naming things.

September 15, 2017

The Quantum Meetup Supremos Invite You to a Saturday Evening Meetup for shooting the breeze about Quantum AI

Filed under: Uncategorized — rrtucci @ 2:34 pm

As I mentioned in my previous blog post, Henning Dekant, CEO of artiste-qb.net, is currently attending, throughout this month of September, an intensive bootcamp/course on quantum machine learning and AI. This course is being offered by the Creative Destruction Lab of the Univ. of Toronto. At the end of the course, on Sept. 30, Henning will be hosting a Meetup were he will spill the beans about what he learned. Other participants in the course have been invited. Erudition + Gossip time! Come join us!

This course participant is currently programming the NYC Matrix:

September 7, 2017

Our Man In Toronto—at the CDL (Creative Destruction Lab) Quantum Machine Learning Program

Filed under: Uncategorized — rrtucci @ 5:55 am

Henning Dekant, CEO of our company artiste-qb.net, has been admitted to the exciting CDL (Creative Destruction Lab) Quantum AI Program. The program will culminate with sales pitches by the participants to prospective investors. But first, during most of September, Mon to Fri, 8 hrs per day, the participants will attend an intensive bootcamp, complete with problem sets for homework, presided by Peter Wittek, on quantum computing software, classical and quantum machine learning and related subjects.

Henning will be writing a series of blog posts reporting on his thoughts and experiences while attending this CDL program. Here is the first post of that series.

Henning is the dapper one wearing a white guayabera. He will be taking good course notes (including drawings of top secret quantum devices, such as the quantum Alexa, which looks suspiciously like a vacuum cleaner)




August 15, 2017

Resistance is Futile: Jupyter Borg Threatens to Assimilate Quantum Computing Universe

Filed under: Uncategorized — rrtucci @ 5:00 pm

A week ago, IBM announced at its Quantum Experience usegroup that it had uploaded to github a large collection of jupyter notebooks exhibiting the use of their gate model quantum computer (previously 5 qubits, currently 16 qubits). I consider this an excellent addition to the quantum open source and free jupyter notebook universe and ecosystem. I’ve advocated for quantum open source and jupyter notebooks many times before in this blog, so it’s a pleasure for me to echo their announcement.

Pow! Right in the kisser of Microsoft’s Liqui|> software. Liqui|> is closed source software.

Google has announced that it will deliver by year’s end a 49 qubit gate model qc with accompanying open source software and cloud service. The jupyter ball is now in your court, Google.

Artiste-qb.net, the company that I work for, already provides a large and ever growing library of jupyter notebooks for both of its quantum open source offerings, Qubiter and Quantum Fog.

Rigetti’s PyQuil and ProjectQ are two other gate model qc simulators analogous to IBM quantum experience. So far these two have very few jupyter notebooks. Wimps! Laggards! Let them eat cake!


Borg Cake


Jupyter Cake

August 14, 2017

Quantum Computing Wrestlemania 2017-2018; Microsoft planning to buy Rigetti?

Filed under: Uncategorized — rrtucci @ 2:35 am

Whoneitral trapl be the contenders for the 2017-2018 Quantum Computing Wrestlemania Event? Google together with NASA bought a Dwave quantum computer, an annealer qc, on May 2013, and upon hiring Martinis in Sept 2014, Google told the press that it intended to build an annealer qc like DWave’s, but with error correction. However, since then, Google has changed plans and has promised a 49= 7X7 gate model, not annealer, qc, to be delivered by the end this year.

If you look at the Wikipedia article on superconducting quantum computing, it contains a table comparing 3 types of Josephson Junction (JJ) qubits: charge, flux and phase. Google’s 49 qubit device is going to be a charge JJ qc. The IBM and Rigetti qc’s are also charge JJ qc’s. Hence, it is now clear that a gladiator contest between Google (led by John Martinis and Hartmut Neven), IBM (led by Jerry Chow) and Rigetti (led by Chad Rigetti) is inevitable in the next few years. If Google and IBM are 800 pound gorillas in this contest, then Rigetti is an 8 pound one. Furthermore, another alpha male 800 pound gorilla is missing from this triad: Microsoft. Microsoft has the only large scale Majorana qc effort in the world, but this effort is much less advanced than the Google & IBM JJ qc efforts. Microsoft does not have any large JJ qc effort as far as I know. What it does have is a lot of moolah. So, in my opinion, it is quite possible that, in order to compete with their nemesis Google in the JJ qc arena, Microsoft will attempt to buy Rigetti. On the other hand, they may decide to sidestep Rigetti and buy some Rigetti imitator that is out there but is still too young to have registered in my radar screen.

(Sept. 14, 2017, Update: Just realized another option for Microsoft: instead of buying Rigetti, Microsoft could try to acquire QCI, a spin-off of the Yale Quantum Institute, which is also trying to build a charge JJ qc)

Besides JJ qc’s, another type of gate model qc that has garnered commercial funding is the trapped atoms qc. In that arena, there are two main contenders; IonQ (led by Chris Monroe, uses ions held place by Paul trap), and a Harvard-Russia group (led by Mikhail Lukin, uses neutral atoms held in place by optical tweezers).

July 11, 2017

Quantum Meetup Supremacy

Filed under: Uncategorized — rrtucci @ 6:54 pm

Google, under the direction of Neven and Martinis, has promised a quantum computing device with 49= 7×7 physical superconductive qubits by the end of this year and to use this device to achieve Quantum Supremacy (what I like to call achieving quantum escape velocity). By this they mean that they will report on an experiment that uses their 49 qubit device to calculate in less than a second, an output that would take conventional classical computers years to calculate. I’ve even heard that Neven has a banner somewhere in the Google-plex rallying his storm-troopers to achieve Quantum Supremacy before anyone else. When Martinis first joined Google circa Sept. 2014, he told the media that Neven had convinced him to build a quantum annealer à la DWave but with error correction. But this 49 qubit device appears to be purely a gate model superconductive device similar to the current 16 qubit IBM device and 8 qubit Rigetti device. Since 49 is much larger than 16 or 8, this threatens to cause a massive migration of users from the IBM and Rigetti projects to the Google one.

Okay, Google, it’s likely that you will soon achieve Quantum Supremacy, and even Quantum Popularity Supremacy, but at least for now, the Toronto Quantum Computing Meetup has a firm hold on Quantum Meetup Supremacy, and there is nothing you can do about it. Indeed, according to this page, our club has more members than any other dedicated quantum computing meetup club in the world (current number of members: Toronto-634, Austin-597, San Francisco-583, etc.)

June 23, 2017

Quantum Computing and the Blockchain-Toronto QC Meetup

Filed under: Uncategorized — rrtucci @ 4:16 pm

I am very pleased to announce that the Toronto quantum computing Meetup will have their next meeting on July 5 on the subject of the connections between quantum computing and blockchain technologies (this includes crypto-currencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum but has many other uses). Henning Dekant (CEO of artiste-qb.net) will be hosting the meeting at the Rotman Business School (part of Univ. of Toronto). Toronto has a vibrant community of brilliant programmers interested in blockchain, including some friends of Henning that will be attending. And, as you probably already know, investors large and small from all over the world have already poured billions of dollars into blockchain.

Toronto Quantum Computing Meetup doesn’t disappoint

May 7, 2017

Enter The Dragon Into The QC Race

Filed under: Uncategorized — rrtucci @ 3:13 pm

Chinese quantum computing has been prominently in the news recently. Two news items about it that have come to my attention are:

First, an article in the conservative journal National Review
warning about the dangers of America falling behind China in the quantum computing “arms race”. I see America’s race with China to build a QC more as a commercial race to achieve supremacy in a new market than as an arms race. The article doesn’t mention Russia or India, probably because those two players have not invested as much money and seem far less committed than USA and China to this race. The article fails to mention that there are some types of crypto that are unbreakable by a QC, so, as long as the world starts migrating to those types of crypto a few years before QCs are available, the world’s secrets will remain safe. Maybe some old docs, encrypted in the QC vulnerable encryptions, will fall in the wrong hands, but I don’t see that as a very serious problem. Secrets usually have a short expiration date anyway. The National Review article does make a point that I consider very true and important:

“Yet with China graduating 4.7 million of its students per year with STEM degrees while the U.S. graduates a little over half a million, how long can the U.S. maintain its lead?

Second, a Boson Sampler experiment. Scott Aaronson is one of the fathers of BS, so let me just quote his BS explanation, as posted in his BS blog, Shtetl Optimized:

… a group in Shanghai, led by Chaoyang Lu and Jianwei Pan, has reported in Nature Photonics that they can do BosonSampling with a coincidence rate that’s higher than in previous experiments by a factor of several thousand. This, in particular, lets them do BosonSampling with 5 photons. Now, 5 might not sound like that much, especially since the group in Bristol previously did 6-photon BosonSampling. But to make their experiment work, the Bristol group needed to start its photons in the initial state |3,3\rangle that is, two modes with 3 photons each. This gives rise to matrices with repeated rows, whose permanents are much easier to calculate than the permanents of arbitrary matrices. By contrast, the Shanghai group starts its photons in the “true BosonSampling initial state” |1,1,1,1,1\rangle that is, five modes with 1 photon each. That’s the kind of initial state we ultimately want.

To me, quantum computers are mostly a commercial product, just like PCs, the Cloud and HPC. Most of the best progress in quantum computing in America is being done by commercial companies (IBM, Google, Microsoft, DWave, etc.), not by academia or aerospace. China with its 1.4 billion inhabitants compared to America’s 300 million, is certainly an enticing market to any company.

Our company Artiste-qb.net already has a small toe-hold in China. Our CTO and part owner, Dr. Tao Yin, lives in Shenzhen, China, where he represents us. Our BayesForge.com product is currently only on the Amazon cloud (AWS), but we are currently working to translate it to a Docker image. Once we do so, we may also make it available on the Alibaba Cloud.

April 30, 2017

I don’t use plates to eat Bayesian networks

Filed under: Uncategorized — rrtucci @ 2:02 am

I am referring here to the “plates” used by some to draw Bayesian networks. Here is why I don’t like them. Consider this diagram given as an example by the Wikipedia article on plate notation. In this diagram, I would replace
\theta by \theta^{M}, z by z^{NM}, and w by w^{NM}. F*** (forget) the plates.

This aversion of mine to plates is related to the following idiosyncratic notation of mine.

In computer code, I like to use x\_ for a random variable x and vx for a vector of N observations x. (In a latex document I might use \underline{x} for a random variable and \underline{x}^N for the N observations.)

A vector of x measurements vx is like a primitive version of the random variable x\_. In fact, from vx one can get an empirical distribution P_{emp}(x) which approximates the true distribution P(x) which defines the random variable x\_. That’s why when I see a statement like x\_ \sim P(x), I think of this as an ordinary equivalence relation. In fact,

x\_ \sim vx \sim P_{emp}(x) \sim  P(x)

are all equivalent in the limit of a large number of observations.

April 29, 2017

Miss Quantum Computing, may I introduce to you Miss Bayesian Hierarchical Models and Miss MCMC?

Filed under: Uncategorized — rrtucci @ 5:49 pm

Warning: Intense talk about computer software ahead. If you are a theoretical computer scientist, you better stop reading this now. Your weak constitution probably can’t take it.

When you enter the nerd paradise and secret garden that is Bayesforge.com (a free service on the Amazon cloud), you will see one folder named “Classical” and another named “Quantum”. Here is a screenshot of this taken from Henning Dekant’s excellent post in Linkedin

The “Quantum” folder contains some major open source quantum computing programs: Quantum Fog, Qubiter, IBM-QisKit (aka kiss-kit), QuTip, DWave, ProjectQ, Rigetti

The “Classical” folder contains some major Bayesian analysis open source programs: Marco Scutari’s bnlearn (R), Kevin Murphy’s BNT (Octave/matlab), OpenPNL (C++/matlab), PyMC, PyStan.

The idea is to promote cross fertilization between “Quantum” and “Classical” Bayesian statisticians.

Today I want to talk mostly about PyMC and PyStan. PyMC and PyStan deal with “Hierarchical Models” (Hmods). The other programs in the “Classical” folder deal with “Bayesian Networks”(Bnets).

Bnets and Hmods are almost the same thing. The community of people working on Bnets has Judea Pearl as one of its distinguished leaders. The community of people working on Hmods has Andrew Gelman as one of its distinguished leaders. You might know Gelman (Prof. at Columbia U.) from his great blog “Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference, and Social Science” or from one of his many books

Both PyStan and PyMC do MCMC (Markov Chain Monte Carlo) for Hmods. They are sort of competitors but also complementary.

PyStan (its GitHub repo here) is a Python wrapper of a computer program written in C++ called Stan. According to Wikipedia, “Stan is named in honour of Stanislaw Ulam, pioneer of the Monte Carlo method.” Prof. Gelman is one of the fathers of Stan (I mean the program, of course).

PyMC comes in 2 incompatible versions: 2.X and 3.X. Version 3 is more advanced and intends to replace Ver 2. PyMC2’s best sampler is a Metropolis-Hastings (MH) sampler. PyMC3 contains an MH sampler, but it also contains the “No U turns” or “NUTS” sampler that is supposed to be much faster than MH for large networks. Currently, Bayesforge contains only PyMC2, but the next version will contain both PyMC2 and PyMC3. As an added bonus, PyMC3 comes with Theano, one of the leading deep neural networks frameworks.

Check out this really cool course:

Sta-663 “Statistical Programming” , available at GitHub, taught at Duke U. by Prof. Chi Wei Cliburn Chan.

This wonderful course has some nice jupyter notebooks illustrating the use of PyMC2, PyMC3 and PyStan. Plus it contains discussions of many other statistical programmimg topics. I love it. It has a similar philosophy to BayesForge, namely to do statistical programming with jupyter notebooks because they are great for communicating your ideas to others and allow you to combine seamlessly various languages like Python, R, Octave, etc

April 21, 2017

Real Artistes Ship!

Filed under: Uncategorized — rrtucci @ 7:33 pm

Today we finally unveiled to the public our http://www.BayesForge.com home page which contains instructions on how to sign up to our free service on the Amazon cloud. In the immortal words of Steve Jobs, “Real Artists Ship”. We ain’t called artiste-qb.net for nothing 🙂

The exploding-reassembling Vitruvian-Metropolis Firefly Robot

April 8, 2017

Welcome to BayesForge, a free service on the Amazon cloud

Filed under: Uncategorized — rrtucci @ 7:08 am

Our company artiste-qb.net is proud to announce BayesForge.com (BF), our new service on AWS (Amazon Web Services). BayesForge is not yet open for business but will open in a week or less. The purpose of this blog post is to give an overview and teaser of what is coming.

Henning Dekant will give a tour of BF to those who attend the meeting on April 21 of the Toronto Quantum Computing Meetup.

Why AWS?

The Amazon cloud is one of the largest and Amazon offers an incredible deal to all its customers. Anybody with a credit card can get an AWS Free Tier account. An AWS Free Tier account gives you one full year of free cloud use (there are some upper bounds on usage but very generous ones). Furthermore, you can open a separate AWS Free Tier account in the name of your spouse and each of your children. Amazon doesn’t seem to care!! Only Jeff Bezos could be so crazy generous. Once you have an AWS Free Tier account, you can use it to play with BayesForge for a whole year, free of charge. You don’t have to be a student to do this.

What can you do with BayesForge?

BF allows you to write Jupyter notebooks on your web browser in a wide variety of languages and run/store those notebooks on the cloud. (Besides the web browser, no additional software needs to be installed on your computer). We have installed Jupyter kernels for Python-3, Python-2, R, Octave (clone of matlab) and bash. This means you can write/run a notebook in which you use one of those languages exclusively. We have also installed Rmagic and Octavemagic which allows you to write a notebook in Python but dip temporarily into R or Octave.

What software packages does BayesForge include?

BF comes with 2 folders called “Classical” and “Quantum”. The “Quantum” folder contains a large selection of open source quantum computing software, including our own Quantum Fog and Qubiter, and also open source qc software from DWave, IBM, Rigetti, etc. The “Classical” folder contains a large selection of open source software for doing classical bayesian statistical analysis.

This is the logo of BayesForge (graphics by our inhouse artiste and Gimp wizard, Henning Dekant. BayesForge name suggested by Gavin Dekant)

“True gold is not afraid of fire.”
(Chinese Proverb)

“Incus robust malleum non timet”
“A strong anvil need not fear the hammer.”
(Latin Proverb)

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