Rumors

Higgs rumor spreads to Slate.com. Me, I want to start a rumor that a Manhattan project for quantum computing has already built a large scale quantum computer (now wouldn’t that make a certain company which has built a small special purpose analog classical computer mad.)

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4 Responses to Rumors

  1. Scott says:

    Weatherall’s stance seems to be that (1) he doesn’t like the Standard Model (“clunky, boring, and infuriatingly silent on the Big Questions”), and (2) he doesn’t like the one experiment that will tell if anything’s immediately beyond it. It reminds me of those who (1) don’t think quantum computing is possible, and (2) don’t like quantum computing experiments which, if they failed, might reveal why it’s impossible. Of course, these are perfectly consistent positions, if advancing knowledge is not one of the goals.

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  2. Paul B. says:

    Scott:

    (2) he doesn’t like the one experiment that will tell if anything’s immediately beyond it.

    The way I was reading his acticle was that he points out the fact (which, indeed, “he does not [seem to] like”) that The Big Experiment is financed by state funds to the tune of, like, $8B for more (geo-)political reasons than scientific ones… Now, that the Cold War is over, it’s Europe vs. US… For the previous 70 years it was USSR vs. the West…

    Somehow I feel nostalgic about science as it was done before circa 1930, when it was more of the privately financed kind by scientists themselves (Einstein having a day job in patent office, etc.), but maybe it’s just me…

    Regards,

    Paul B.

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  3. nextquant says:

    now wouldn’t that make a certain company which has built a small special purpose analog classical computer mad

    Well, Geordie Rose considers D-Wave to be a Manhattan project for quantum computing.

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  4. Scott says:

    Paul, it’s precisely because those earlier physicists were so successful, that it now costs so much if you want to improve on them by reaching a regime that their theories don’t explain. This is a scientific point, not a geopolitical one. So while one certainly debate whether there are better things to do with $8B (for example: fund theoretical computer science research instead :-) ), it’s hard for me to take seriously any argument that doesn’t at least acknowledge this underlying reality.

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