Sunday, February 03, 2008

Doing Science on a Quantum Computer

Last week was The Third Workshop on the Theory of Quantum Computation, Communication, and Cryptography (TQC 2008), held here in Tokyo. One of the invited speakers was Ignacio Cirac.

I asked the following question (first in dinner conversation, then during my presentation):

When will the first Science or Nature paper appear in which the results are calculated on a quantum computer, but the point of the paper is not the quantum computer?

That is, when will a quantum computer do science, rather than be science?

Ignacio answered, "If you include quantum simulations, within five years."

[In quantum simulation, which is something like Feynman's original vision of quantum computers, you set up your device so that it emulates the behavior of a different physical system -- like simulating a set of mechanical oscillators using an RLC circuit.]

Call me an optimist, but I'm with Ignacio.

Maybe we need a LongBet on this...

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