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In the comments, many people tried repeatedly to change the subject from (*) to various subsidiary questions.For example: isn’t it possible that D-Wave’s current device will be found to provide a speedup on some generation of machines? Should Cathy Mc Geoch have acted differently, in the type of comparison she agreed to do, or in how she communicated about its results?It appears that, while the D-Wave machine does outperform certain off-the-shelf solvers, simulated annealing codes have been written that outperform the D-Wave machine on its own native problem when run on a standard laptop.More research is needed to clarify the issue, but in the meantime, it seems worth knowing that this is where things currently stand.In another exciting update, John Smolin and Graeme Smith posted a paper to the ar Xiv tonight questioning even the “signature of quantumness” part of the latest D-Wave claims—the part that I’d been ~98% willing to accept, even as I relayed evidence that cast enormous doubt on the “speedup” part.
And imagine that a more relevant clinical trial—mostly unmentioned in the press—had been done, and discovered that when you compare to the right drugs, the drugs do better.Without further ado, here’s what Lidar says: I don’t believe D-Wave’s approach is scalable without error correction.I believe that the incorporation of error correction is a necessary condition in order to ever achieve a speedup with D-Wave’s machines, and I don’t believe D-Wave’s machines are any different from other types of quantum information processing in this regard.I left without asking questions, not wanting to be the one to instigate an unpleasant confrontation, and—I’ll admit—questioning my own sanity as a result of no one else asking about the gigantic elephant in the room. Among the many interesting comments below, see especially this one by Alex Selby, who says he’s written his own specialist solver for one class of the Mc Geoch and Wang benchmarks that significantly outperforms the software (and D-Wave machine) tested by Mc Geoch and Wang on those benchmarks—and who provides the Python code so you can try it yourself.Also, Igor Vernik asked me to announce that on July 8th, D-Wave will be giving a technical presentation at the International Superconducting Electronics Conference in Cambridge.