Thursday, May 10, 2007

Why Quantum Computing Is Bunk (part 1)

Part I, II

Paul Feyerabend, the foremost science critic of the last century, once wrote in his book 'Against Method' that "the most stupid procedures and the most laughable results in their domain are surrounded with an aura of excellence. It is time to cut them down in size, and to give them a more modest position in society." Feyerabend was speaking of scientists in general but he may as well have been talking about the new "science" of quantum computing. Quantum computing is based on the so-called Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics. The idea is that the states of certain quantum properties, such as the spin of a particle, are superposed, meaning that a quantum property can have multiple states simultaneously.

The blatantly ridiculous nature of this belief has not stopped an entire research industry from sprouting everywhere in the academic community. QC researchers are making grandiose promises about magical computational powers being just around the corner in order to obtain grants and attract the attention of gullible investors while having nothing to show of practical importance. Not a week goes by without some announcement about some "progress" or "advance" in QC. It's like a magician going through all sorts of contortions without ever pulling the rabbit out of the hat. Rather than retrace their steps, a few physicists have tried to explain away the contradictions by postulating the existence of an infinite number of universes one for each quantum state. In so doing, the QC hole keeps getting deeper and deeeper and words like fraud, crackpottery and hoax come to mind.

The problem with QC is not so much its laughable absurdity, but the fact that quantum physicists have no clue as to why certain quantum processes are probabilistic in the first place. Physicists love to boast that theirs is an empirical science but have no qualms believing in things that have never been observed. To them, superposition is not an interpretation or a belief but a fact. However, from my vantage point, QC is now a full-blown organized religion. In my next article, I will explain the simple reason that quantum processes are probabilistic and why quantum computing is utter nonsense or, using one of my favorite putdowns, "chicken feather voodoo physics".

Go to Part II

See Also:

D-Wave's Quantum Computing Crackpottery


Anonymous said...

How nice. And dare I ask, what problem do you have with the probabilistic nature of quantum processes? You can describe something with math, and you just try and pick the most appropriate math theory for your particular problem.

Regarding the question why something is best explained in terms of probability theory rather than analysis - well, I wish you good luck in finding that out.

Louis Savain said...

You are mistaken. I have no problem with the probabilistic nature of quantum processes. In fact, I have excellent reasons to believe that it could not be any other way. I do have a problem with the current widely accepted QM interpretation that calls for the superposition of quantum states. Superposition is a requirement of quantum computing. In my opinion, it is a ridiculous concept on the face of it.

Unknown said...

These quantum critics are all the same. They obviously have no problem with "the superpositionality" of their own intellectual vanity.
However I do agree that quantum computing is just chicken feather voodoo marketing.
QC is simply a cool sounding tool for cyberutopians who don't understand physics anymore than the general public does.