Quantum computing explained in a 2-minute video

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2018/11/09/quantum-computing-explained-in.html

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“The Talk” provides an approachable and entertaining introduction to quantum computing:


I really wish this “quantum computing instantly breaks all encryption” meme would die.

It’s not only wrong, but also senseless fear-mongering. It’s more like quantum computers will be able to crack a password in 1000 years vs a trillion years for a classical computer. The solution? Just increase the key length.

Also, this video explained nothing about quantum computing. It just taught you some new words that exist.


Oh geez, I’m torn over this whole quantum business. One the one hand, the NSA is going to become even more powerful. On the other, “qubits” sounds like Qbert, which can only be a good thing.


Thank you! This is way, way better (and funnier) than this superficial “Explainer”-video!


All you need to do about this video, and the technical level they expect from their audience:

“[The] first application is cryptography. Or to put it simply: passwords.”

Move along, guys.


Wut? That video was rubbish.
It’s like two-three years ago when every source you clicked on kept giving you the same condensed list of basic facts about AI.


What a clickbait headline Their entire “explanation” of qc is “It’s gonna be real, real powerful!”. Geez.


So much wrong stuff in such a short video. Truly impressive misinformation compression

  • For the next 30 years quantum chips will need lots and lots of standard transistors to control its operation. Nobody is thinking of quantum as a replacement for classical computing. Rather, it’s a specialized co-processor for very specific algorithms.

  • 5 qubits cannot do anything interesting. To simulate it on a PC you need less than 1K of memory (i.e. 1 millionth of a gigabyte). Yes, somebody ran Grover’s algorithm on the IBM Quantum Experience chip. But they “searched” 5 bits to find the “1” value.

  • There are many more approaches than superconducting qubits and cold atoms. There are optics, quantum dots in silicon, nitrogen vacancy centers in nano-diamonds, trapped ions, etc. To claim “cold atoms” is one of the two main directions is factually incorrect.

  • “Artificial atoms” such as superconducting qubits are currently cooled to 0.01 degrees above absolute zero. Video makes you think they are not.

  • In no way are cold atoms “more efficient”.

  • No way no how you’ll get anything quantum in a cellphone by 2028. I’ll be absolutely amazed if this happens before 2040.

  • Breaking encryption is one of the most difficult tasks for quantum computers. You need around 100K error-corrected qubits, which translate into more than 1M physical qubits. This is not happening for at least 15 years, even if we assume the super-optimistic scenario. And even then, we have new classical encryption scheme which are probably immune to breaking by quantum computers.

  • The first useful use of quantum computers will be simulation of chemical reactions and new materials, since this can be done with 1K qubits without error correction.

You really need to consult somebody in the field before putting something like this out. Do better.


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It’s almost like there is more work going into applications for grants, pitches for venture capital and PR/spin than into actual research.

I’ve seen a lot of bad quantum computing explainers, but this video is a new low.

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