Use Whatever Works, Even 'Alleged' Quantum Computing Algorithms -- Then Publicize It
from the sufficiently-advanced-technology-(or-magic) dept
A recent example of tackling a hard problem and making it sound mysterious comes from Google's research into quantum computing algorithms in which Google has partnered with the small Canadian startup, D-Wave, to master the computational realm of image recognition. The mystery, though, is that there may or may not be any quantum computing involved at all in this research. D-Wave claims to have a silicon-based chip that can simulate certain quantum mechanical scenarios, but the company hasn't yet published any peer-reviewed papers on their apparent breakthroughs in quantum computing. D-Wave admits it's not sure whether or not its technology is truly simulating quantum behavior, but presumably, the determination can be performed if the company really wanted to know with certainty. So while D-Wave says it's still evaluating its own technology, skeptics question the validity of their claims.
In the meantime, though, a reportedly faster image recognition algorithm seems to rely on D-Wave's chip. Google has presented its research for it with the conclusion that its "quantum" algorithm has surpassed Google's existing classical algorithms currently in use in its own data centers. However, these results don't necessarily mean the achievement is notable. A better algorithm could be classical as well. And given that the D-Wave chip hasn't been fully characterized, it's not clear how it compares to other chips. In the end, though, Google can brag about its cutting edge research, even if the progress can't be fully measured.