In an article on stopping a large spectrum of light with metamaterials in The Telegraph (research which is very cool, but isn’t available online, yet, as far as I can tell), I find some lines that would make the Optimizer go bonkers:
By contrast, the switches in a quantum computer can be both “on” and “off” at the same time. A “qubit” could do two calculations at once, two qubits would do four and so on. Thus, it was theoretically possible to use quantum computers to explore vast numbers of potential solutions to a problem simultaneously.
Ouch, my brain hurts.
Okay, so I’m fine with, if a bit peeved, at describing a quantum computer having switches that are both “on” or “off” at the same time. I mean a superposition of two states is an odd object and saying good coherent English sentences about such objects is a slippery slope. But to say that a qubit does two calculations at once, well that’s just plain silly. And the idea that quantum computers get their power in a naive way of exploring vast numbers of potential solutions, well that’s not at all how we understand the speedups of quantum computers. In fact we know that this naive parallelism doesn’t lead to quantum speedups.
Really I hate to be hard on these science journalists, but running this by a single researcher in quantum computing would have fixed this up. Or would it? Maybe there are quantum computing researchers out there who would let this pass. If so I’d love to hear their justifications!
To end on a happier note: at least the science writer spelled “Caltech” correctly 🙂