Quantum Thought Leaders

For the past few days, I was bummed about the sooner-than-expected loss of Steven Weinberg. Even after putting up my post, I spent hours just watching old interviews with Steve on YouTube and reading his old essays for gems of insight that I’d missed. (Someday, I’ll tackle Steve’s celebrated quantum... Read more
Published on: 2021-07-27
I'm publishing a book! And yes, it's meant for you. Continue reading →... Read more
Steven Weinberg was, perhaps, the last truly towering figure of 20th-century physics. In 1967, he wrote a 3-page paper saying in effect that as far as he could see, two of the four fundamental forces of the universe—namely, electromagnetism and the weak nuclear force—had actually been the same force until... Read more
Published on: 2021-07-25
Alright everyone: Victor Galitski has an impassioned rant against out-of-control quantum computing hype, which I enjoyed and enthusiastically recommend, although I wished Galitski had engaged a bit more with the strongest arguments for optimism (e.g., the recent sampling-based supremacy experiments, the extrapolations that show gate fidelities crossing the fault-tolerance threshold... Read more
Published on: 2021-07-21
Almost two weeks ago, I put up a poll on LinkedIn asking for opinions on what should be the subtitle of my next book, Dancing with Python. Here are the poll results: The choices were: Learn to code using traditional and quantum computing techniques A unified introduction to classical and... Read more
Published on: 2021-07-07
Happy 4th to those in the US! The group of Chaoyang Lu and Jianwei Pan, based at USTC in China, has been on a serious quantum supremacy tear lately. Recall that last December, USTC announced the achievement of quantum supremacy via Gaussian BosonSampling, with 50-70 detected photons—the second claim of... Read more
Published on: 2021-07-04
I had a relative to whom my parents referred, when I was little, as “that great-aunt of yours who walked into a glass door at your cousin’s birthday party.” I was a small child in a large family that mostly … Continue reading →... Read more
Packt will be publishing my next book, Dancing with Python, sometime around early September. From the draft preface: Once you have the philosophy, syntax, structure, and idioms of the classical programming language understood, you then learn quantum computing on top of that. For example, you could use the Qiskit open-source... Read more
Published on: 2021-06-25
Happy birthday to Alan Turing! This week I’m participating virtually in STOC’2021, which today had a celebration of the 50th anniversary of NP-completeness (featuring Steve Cook, Richard Karp, Leonid Levin, Christos Papadimitriou, and Avi Wigderson), and which tomorrow will have a day’s worth of quantum computing content, including a tutorial... Read more
Published on: 2021-06-23
The other night Dana and I watched “The Internet’s Own Boy,” the 2014 documentary about the life and work of Aaron Swartz, which I’d somehow missed when it came out. Swartz, for anyone who doesn’t remember, was the child prodigy who helped create RSS and Reddit, who then became a... Read more
Published on: 2021-06-10
I now have a feature article up at Quanta magazine, entitled “What Makes Quantum Computing So Hard To Explain?” I.e., why do journalists, investors, etc. so consistently get central points wrong, even after the subject has been in public consciousness for more than 25 years? Perhaps unsurprisingly, I found it... Read more
Published on: 2021-06-08
Intelligent beings have the ability to receive, process, store information, and based on the processed information, predict what would happen in the future and act accordingly. We, as intelligent beings, receive, process, and store classical information (0/1 bits). The information … Continue reading →... Read more
Hooray, I’m today’s “Featured ACM Member”! Which basically means, yet another interview with me about quantum computing, with questions including what’s most surprised me about the development of QC, and what students should do to get into the field. I’m proud to announce that An Automated Approach to the Collatz... Read more
Published on: 2021-06-01
The autumn of my sophomore year of college was mildly hellish. I took the equivalent of three semester-long computer-science and physics courses, atop other classwork; co-led a public-speaking self-help group; and coordinated a celebrity visit to campus. I lived at … Continue reading →... Read more
Yesterday, I had fun doing an open-ended Q&A at the Astral Codex Ten weekly online meetup. See here for the YouTube video. The questions were mainly about quantum computing, but ranged over various other topics as well, including education policy, the Great Stagnation, and what my biggest disagreements with Scott... Read more
Published on: 2021-05-24
Holy crap. In case you’re wondering how I spent such a milestone of a day: well, I spent hours of it at an important virtual grant review meeting with the Department of Defense. Alas, when it came time for my own big presentation at that meeting—about what my students and... Read more
Published on: 2021-05-21
You’ll hear that it’s not as simple as the Israelis are good guys and Palestinians are bad guys, or vice versa. And that’s true. But it’s also not so complicated that there are no clearly identifiable good guys or bad guys. It’s just that they cut across the sides. The... Read more
Published on: 2021-05-16
For those who read my reply to Richard Borcherds on “teapot supremacy”: seeking better data, I ordered a dozen terra cotta flowerpots, and smashed eight of them on my driveway with my 4-year-old son, dropping each one from approximately 2 meters. For each flowerpot, we counted how many pieces it... Read more
Published on: 2021-05-10
Peter Singer, in the parable that came to represent his whole worldview and that of the effective altruism movement more generally, asked us to imagine that we could save a drowning child at the cost of jumping into a lake and ruining an expensive new suit. Assuming we’d do that,... Read more
Published on: 2021-04-25
Richard Borcherds is a British mathematician at Berkeley, who won the 1998 Fields Medal for the proof of the monstrous moonshine conjecture among many other contributions. A couple months ago, Borcherds posted on YouTube a self-described “rant” about quantum computing, which was recently making the rounds on Facebook and which... Read more
Published on: 2021-04-20