back to article Canny Canadian PM schools snarky hack on quantum computing

The Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has humiliated a Canadian journalist who assumed he was clueless about quantum computing. Trudeau was attending a press conference at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Waterloo, Ontario to announce $50m in science funding. A reporter jokingly asked him to explain …

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Re: Check this out for a cool explanation

I had it exactly right because I prefaced the phrase

OK, I misinterpreted, but the emphasis you used (on "information" rather than "doesn't") suggested to me that somehow "information" (as opposed to something tangible like a photon or whatever) was something that could be transmitted without breaking the speed limit. Your use of the word "seems" ("I know not 'seems' ...") further muddied the waters for me.

So anyway, not "it seems that instantaneous information transfer doesn't violate relativity", but "relativity doesn't allow for instantaneous information transfer". All cleared up.

Still, one other niggle: "it gives a method for instantaneous cooperation at a distance" is similarly open to misinterpretation. The "spooky action at a distance" is uncorrelated until after both parties have compared notes. This "cooperation" you're talking about takes time and is definitely not instantaneous.

(with the obvious caveat that "If you think you understand quantum mechanics, you don't understand quantum mechanics" surely applies equally to both of us)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Check this out for a cool explanation

@ " You almost had it right because you go on to say that the parties have to compare notes afterwards. "

Yeh, and the note says "did this experiment exhibit entanglement? yes/no" if yes, then your photon polarization is the same as mine, if no, ignore the result. So the entanglement happens when the researcher filters out the experiments where the photons are different....

That was the essence of the Delft entanglement experiment, and it forms the basis for every other entanglement experiment since Wheelers Delayed Choice. Always a filter to remove failed experiments, which are actually proof of the non-existance of entanglement, carefully filtered from the experimental result.

You tell me, did

a) a Photon sense the apparatus it was in would determine its wave or particle like properties and go backwards in time, and change its nature before it reached the apparatus to become wave like, or particle like. Fixing up all the interactions with everything along the way, even altering distant photons to also be the same way?

or

b) the detector sees the world based on how it detects. So for example, a photo-multiplier, detects by promoting an outer electron to be free, which knocks other outer electrons off, and causes a detectable current. So it couldn't detect a thing lower than the energy needed to knock off that initial electron. So it imposes a minimum quantum on everything it measures. So it sees the world in quanta. The light didn't become a particle with a bigger eV than the energy needed to promote that electron, its simply that if it was smaller than that, the photo multiplier couldn't detect it.

So is there a detector with a zero energy gap? That won't impose quanta on its measurements? No. If there was it would be firing all the time detecting the nothings.

So of course the quanta you detect comes from the detector. Your photons appear to be particles because your detecting them that way.

Perhaps its time physics cleaned house? Because all that QM QED Standard model stuff is just garbage.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Check this out for a cool explanation

@"The little animated diagrams of the gates and their effects on the superpositioned"

Nah. Firstly there's one claimed quantum computer currently, the DWAVE, and there's no superpositioning going on in that. It's an analogue magnetic field computer. You configure a circuit in it, that circuit is made of coils and magnetic fields and superconductors. As the fields collapse, they reach a balance, so you can solve 'minimization' problems with. i.e. solve this equation y = F(x1,x2,x3,x4...) to find the values of x1,x2,x3,x4, that create the lowest possible value of y.

DWave often doesn't find the optimal result, it finds a sub-optimal local minimum. It Superpositioning was going on, then x1,x2,x3... would pass through *all* possible values, including the ideal *optimal* solution. What it tells us is that these qubits are in a *single* state, and it happened to be nearer the *sub-optimal* solution than the optimal one as the field collapsed.

So no superimposition, just analogue computer.

And as for entanglement, no. If there was such a thing as entanglement it would work 1000x faster than light, so the result would be instantaneous, and it isn't.

And Light does not really change between wave and particle, light has no way of knowing whether the experiment it's passing through is to detect wave or particle properties, and the idea that it goes back in time, and changes its nature (and the nature of every particle it interacted with along the way) to fit the first time its detected, is just laughable. It's just the limits of the detection method mapped onto the thing being detected.

It's the flock of starlings problem: If your detector can only see the flock and not the individual bird, then you see a big flock sized particle, jumping around, sometimes in multiple places at once, sometimes nowhere, as if its time traveling or travelling faster than light.

You see the same effect in bubble chambers with some particles that appear to go backwards in time,

...and even in lightning strikes that goes from ground to sky as if the ground was discharging to the sky... or the sky was discharging to the ground in backwards time...

... except of course your not seeing the discharge at all, you're seeing the arc of light it creates as it heats the air. You eyes see the arc, because they can't see the electricity flowing. Another limit of the detector mapped onto the observed effect.

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Re: Check this out for a cool explanation

Firstly

"First" is perfectly capable of being an adverb. It doesn't need an extra syllable to do the job.

there's one claimed quantum computer currently, the DWAVE,

Wrong. The DWave machine is the only commercial quantum-computing system currently available. (Actually, even that's probably not true; no doubt there are various snake-oil merchants trying to sell fake QC machines. And possibly someone else is now peddling an QAC system like the DWave - I don't follow that market closely.)

But there have been several claimed true QC systems built by various research teams. They don't have many qubits, so they're not useful for real work, but that doesn't mean they're not quantum computers.

and there's no superpositioning going on in that. It's an analogue magnetic field computer.

More accurately, it's a quantum adiabatic computer. Basically a quantum version of standard annealing. The idea is you tunnel through thin "walls" to get out of local minima more cheaply.

DWave often doesn't find the optimal result, it finds a sub-optimal local minimum.

Yup. The quantum effect of the DWave system (assuming there really is one; opinion is divided) is local. As with any annealing system, you have to decide how much "heat" (perturbation) you're going to pump into the system. Too much and you may not reach equilibrium; too little and you may get stuck in a local minimum.

And as for entanglement, no. If there was such a thing as entanglement it would work 1000x faster than light, so the result would be instantaneous, and it isn't.

Er, no. I don't know exactly what this is supposed to mean, but it doesn't appear to be converging on anything accurate.

the idea that it goes back in time, and changes its nature (and the nature of every particle it interacted with along the way) to fit the first time its detected, is just laughable

Indeed, that sounds pretty silly. Who do you think is proposing it?

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hummmmm

Hthe thoughts just struck me. If the instantaneous communication works as advertised it removes the need for encryption since it can't be intercepted in transit.

How would they legislate that one?

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Re: hummmmm

That is indeed one of the proposed benefits. The problem is, as always, translating the theoretical to the real world. The problem you face is the entangled state will collapse if you try to shove it down a copper wire.

The entire internet network would need to be relaid, and this only works point to point, so relays are out, and your house would need a direct connection to every server you wish to talk to.

Not 100% practical, so no legislation required, only the military will bother I imagine.

If, however, storage becomes so efficient that you can store the whole internet on one machine, then this starts to seem do-able...

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Re: hummmmm

"How would they legislate that one?" --- Sgt Oddball

In exactly the same way ... by ignoring the science/maths and legislating anyway.

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Re: hummmmm

We might legislate it by classing it as a munition. That's just how we roll.

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Re: hummmmm

The communication can never truly be FTL or "instantaneous". You can transmit things, as long as it is not "information". So it does allow for, as in your example, encryption keys to be transmitted or messages to be transmitted but checks to be made if they have been "read/tampered".

So the encryption keys are transmitted at normal speed, but it is a guarantee you both get the same key and that they have not been intercepted.

This can be done with photons over optical cables. But I've not seen it done in practical ways yet.

http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/guest-blog/quantum-cryptography-at-the-end-of-your-road/

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Re: hummmmm

If the instantaneous communication works as advertised it removes the need for encryption since it can't be intercepted in transit.

As someone else already noted, so-called "quantum cryptography" (a misnomer) doesn't transmit information instantaneously. You're still limited by the speed of light. Go faster and you break causality, and then someone will go back in time and stop you from doing that because there are a whole bunch of us who like causality.1

It also doesn't prevent interception (at least not for the traditional QC protocols; maybe things have advanced since I last looked at this stuff). What it prevents is undetected interception. More specifically, in typical QC protocols interception will cause protocol errors, so Alice and Bob won't be able to agree on a session key in the first place, and thus will never transmit any sensitive data.

How would they legislate that one?

Well, again as has already been pointed out, legislation need not have any basis in reality. However, the real sticking point for quantum communications is economics. It's simply not feasible to set up these systems with everyone you might want to communicate with.

And, of course, while, say, the key exchange might be protected under a QC scheme, there are all sorts of other places to attack. Even if the entire channel is protected, start to finish, an attacker will just go after the endpoints.

1I can't decide if this should be interpreted as a reference to Charles Stross or to Andrew Hussie. Take your pick, I guess.

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He countered the snark

with strangeness and charm

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A Danger too all that is right and Right

Should Trump get the prez job and be asked such a question, either he'd have the press guy taken out and shot --or just be attacked by surrounding petomaines for using witchcraft and summoning the ghosts of Feynman and the like.

Similar to our own Boris Trump - if it ain't binary, it's an abomination.

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Trollface

Meanwhile, in the UK ...

How do we get a journalist to ask Boris Johnson to explain General Relativity? The answer wouldn't be meaningful, but undoubtedly would be good for a laugh.

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Re: Meanwhile, in the UK ...

I'd hold off on relativity until he at least demonstrates an understanding of contraception.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Meanwhile, in the UK ...

He's certainly tried. Shame his parents didn't.

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Re: Meanwhile, in the UK ...

The answer wouldn't be meaningful, but undoubtedly would be good for a laugh.

Boris would just say something in Latin and hope no-one understood it.

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And Cameron?

Perhaps we could get him to explain encryption?

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Holmes

Re: And Cameron?

Nah. Politicians are generally well-versed in encryption, though maybe not so much in explaining it. Their preferred method, nearly unbreakable, is verbal steganography.

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Re: And Cameron?

I'm afraid it's more of a one-way hash. Try extracting the plain-text from this cipher:

"Notwithstanding the fact that your proposal could conceivably encompass certain concomitant benefits of a marginal and peripheral relevance, there is a countervailing consideration of infinitely superior magnitude involving your personal complicity and corroborative malfeasance, with a consequence that the taint and stigma of your former associations and diversions could irredeemably and irretrievably invalidate your position and culminate in public revelations and recriminations of a profoundly embarrassing and ultimately indefensible character."

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Thumb Up

Intelligence AND politics?

Woah!

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WTF?

And For Corbyn

Perhaps Corbyn could explain how to get your tax return, accurate, correct and on time as his speciality discussion subject.

For the record I'm now about 95% done on my 2016 return (that is the one due by January 2017).

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Re: And For Corbyn

Bet you you paid more than you will

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Anonymous Coward

Re: And For Corbyn

Quite possibly. The fines for lateness can get expensive.

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Re: And For Corbyn

"Bet you you paid more than you will"

I bet not..

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Pint

Prime Minister Trudeau vice the sadder longer term average

Previous Canadian PM (Mr Harper) will be dragging down the long term average for decades to come.

The Supreme Court of Canada is still (even just this past week) cleaning up Harper's Legacy.

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Pint

Test of AC and Icon

Bug found?

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Pint

Re: Test of AC and Icon

^- AC and icon. LOL...

Coders... They always miss things...

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Pint

Reproducibility Test of AC with icon

Excuse the testing...

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Pint

Re: Reproducibility Test of AC with icon

LOL

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Reproducibility Test of AC with icon

FREE BEER! (Well, free of consequence for whatever comment one feels obliged to make.)

...

FREE BEER! DRINKS ON THE HOUSE!

EDIT: Bah. Either they fixed it, or I missed the cheat-sheet handout for whatever extra trick makes it work. I never win anything </grumps>

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Pint

Re: Reproducibility Test of AC with icon

The webmaster fixed it almost immediately after I reported it.

I can still make the AC and Icon appear together without complaint in the Preview, but it appears that the Submit is fixed.

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Boffin

Trudeau is no slouch in the speaking department

He's had great exposure to excellent source material -

And I honestly think that he *believes* that Canada, and politicians in Canada, have a responsibility to be the calm, rational, quiet voices for reason. It is a role that the country has been known for in the past, and sadly Harper et al shredded that reputation. Even J Chretien, despite is rougher edges and his image, managed to tell GWB to f### off rather politely over WMD. Possibly since the spook types up here were the loudest saying that the yellowcake invoice was fake as hell.

Lots of TeaParty doctrine has been spewed in the media up here over the last 15 years, and has right shifted the less mentally agile of the PC party, in line with Harper's doctrine. "Toe The Line, don't speak out of turn, we'll tell you what you need to know" politics just rubbed 64% of the Canadian voting public the wrong way prior to the last election.

It is interesting now that the raging right are using fallout from the conservative process and governmental commitments to crucify the the Liberals at every turn. If they had any idea of the level of irony they generate, it would be sufficient to power a small city.

All that said I'm no screaming fan of some components of the Liberal party either, but at least in the federal case, they've chosen a *very* charming, well trained, well mannered, and quite intelligent leader. Hopefully the direction we've been going will see some corrections.

The conservatives (at least federally) have only one hope. Neither of them (yes, it is a couple and if you're Canadian you know who.) are about to run for the leadership in the current atmosphere of the teaparty republican wannabes pulling trump like attitude in the PC party. The NDP (again federally) sadly will have to wait a good 10 years to find another leader that stands a chance to pull them out of the dust. The last NDPer that stood that chance was taken from us rather abruptly.

As for future provinces see:

http://globalnews.ca/news/2621875/reality-check-should-canada-adopt-turks-and-caicos-as-its-11th-province/

Sorry, with the state being run by a bush? I wouldn't touch Florida with a Georgia Pine.

Happy Saturday, its a gorgeous day outside and my youngest has a school project I'm supposed to be working with him on. later.

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Re: Trudeau is no slouch in the speaking department

Props for correcting the Fla, proto-Canadian by bringing up the Turks & Caicos; though I would have linked to the Wiki page; next year, it'll be 100 years since Robert Borden first proposed it.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turks_and_Caicos_Islands#Proposed_union_with_Canada

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Merkel has a PhD in quantum chemistry.

Sad, but true.

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Pint

"...quantum chemistry..."

I suspect that's part of how brains work.

It puts the 'Random' into 'Random Access Memory'.

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Politics used to be a noble science

I do not follow Canadian politics or Trudeau, but this does not prevent me from making a few disinterested observations:

1. The offered explanation can only be judged impressive in comparison with Sen. Feinstein's grasp of number theory.

2. A political press event at a scientific establishment, and no one among the generally skeptical El Reg commentariat voices a suspicion the question could be a plant?

3. Successful politicians tend to know how to be charming, and how to engineer (sic!) situations to apply the charm.

I will see nothing wrong in the situation even if it proves to be a plant, but it's still not like he gave a coherent and informed speech on what D-Wave Systems' success could mean to the Canadian technology (preferably with a high level overview of the controversy about whether they have demonstrated any quantum features... no, that's me being snark...). That would both make him really stand out among the world's politicians and fall well within his remit as the Prime Minister.

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Mushroom

Re: Politics used to be a noble science

"Successful politicians tend to know how to be charming".

Do you consider David Cameron to be charming? He couldn't charm a pig with sh1t. Or indeed with anything else.

He's arguably successful since he landed the top job twice, but I doubt charm had anything to do with it.

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Coat

IDK, WTF, and STFU

I don't know what the fuck is going on in this year's election and ya'll can shut the fuck up considering ya'll thought Obama was the next best thing to Mother Teresa...

(Bernie should be winning over that sack of recycled potatoes Hildawg and Trump? Cruz? WHO the fuck let them out? Jesus...)

...the camo jacket with MREs, wooden stakes, garlic, and other interesting bits in pockets...

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Re: IDK, WTF, and STFU

Found the Hildawg supporter....

;)

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Right now, Burr and Feinstein and pointing at Trudeau and yelling "SORCERER!"

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Anonymous Coward

Not sure why it's so hard to see: Someone in his press department researched for him knowing journos would try to trip him up and he parroted the description they gave him.

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Meanwhile, back in Washington...

"Quantum" computing? Where is that company based? Let's buy some really big ones...

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Hate to burst your ballon but...

This was a setup question, and he just had someone tell him that morning what it was. The question was to be about ISIS

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