Thursday, March 16, 2017

quantum commercialization

Last week, shit got real in the field of quantum computing:


Two Fridays ago, Nature Magazine published a commentary from researchers at Google arguing that quantum computing technologies should be commercialized in the next few years. This is much earlier than experts expect a fully error-correcting functional quantum computer to be available. And then with the timing of a phase-locked generator, the following Monday morning IBM threw down the gauntlet and announced that it will roll out a commercial quantum computing cloud service this year. This announcement came with a brand new program, called IBM Q, that will offer system access for a fee. It builds on IBM's development of the Quantum Experience, a real 5-qubit processor that you, yes you, can access for free on the internet (and which yours truly will eventually blog about). This was widely covered in the layman press, and you can watch IBM VP of Science & Solutions Dario Gil explain on CNBC, or read coverage from the Financial Times, Wired, Fox News, CNET, and TechCrunch to name a few. Besides launching the IBM Q brand, 
IBM is also announcing:

  • An application programming interface (API) for the Quantum Experience, allowing software developers to access the 5-qubit computer
  • A software development kit (SDK) for the Quantum Experience as well
  • An upgraded simulator that can model circuits up to 20 qubits
  • The promise of an eventual roadmap for commercial quantum computing
There's even a Facebook Live video for you, with the managers answering questions and showing you around the lab.

And then, just to top things off, the cover story of this week's issue of The Economist is on quantum technologies, as the focus of their Technology Quarterly review. Besides quantum computing, it includes potential advances arising from the other developing quantum technologies, cryptography and sensing. They do a good job of bringing these esoteric research fields to the public mind. And as a consequence, expect many others to look into making money out of quantum physics.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

quantum face/off

Results of the first head-to-head throwdown in the nascent field of quantum computing are in, and delighting technology enthusiasts and soccer fans alike, it was a tie. In one corner, the stalwart ytterbium atom ion traps of Chris Monroe at the University of Maryland/ionQ (of which I previously blogged about) squared off against the superconducting circuits of niobium and aluminum of IBM's publicly available Quantum Experience (of which I've been meaning to blog about). The comparative preprint performed four quantum algorithms on the respective five-qubit processors and gauged their performance. The gist of the matchup comes down to the superior coherence time and connectivity of the ion trap processor compared to the speed of the superconducting version [it should probably be mentioned now that yours truly works on the superconducting one].

The weigh in: a) the IBM Quantum Experience processor consisting of five superconducting qubits and b) Chris Monroe's five qubit ion trap. Qubit connectivity is depicted in the insets. [N.M. Linke et al, arXiv:1702.01852]



The implementation of the algorithms, while at an assembly-level language, varies quite a lot between the two systems. IBM offers a finite number of operations, the X, Y, Z, S, T, H, and CNOT (based on ZX implemented by cross resonance) gates [IBM has expanded the gate selection and connectivity since the writing of this manuscript], while the ion trap uses arbitrary single-qubit rotations and the XX entangling gate. The decomposition of each of these into physical operations varies even further and requires another post to address, in addition to a description of the operations under test: the Margolus and Toffoli gates, and Bernstein-Vazirani and Hidden Shift algorithms. While the ion trap system bests the superconducting circuits in average probability of success, the superconducting operations are approximately a thousand times faster, meaning each experiment could be repeated to improve the likelihood of success. This comes at no surprise to me, although I am quite fascinated by the patterns of errors in the quantum state tomography.

Ion traps have been the forerunners of quantum computing since the very first experiments in the field, while superconducting circuits, who entered the race quite feebly, have vastly improved in the 20 years since their realization. Now roughly on equal footing, and with most large companies aiming for commercialization of quantum computers favoring the superconducting style, it seems ion trap groups are sweating a bit. And in order to corner the systems engineering required to build a useful quantum computer, an ion trap group is already proposing building one the size of a football [they're British, so they probably mean soccer] pitch [British for 'field']. While this contest resulted in a tie, it seems pretty clear who's on defense.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

i <heart> nfl: super bowl li!!!

Welcome to Super Bowl LI, the one that comes after 50!!! In these unsure time, with cats and dogs competing together and Rex Ryan going to the Super Bowl (as an ESPN analyst), we will be refreshingly distracted by unhealthy snacking, excessive drinking, and today's game of sportsballThe Cleveland Browns can proudly boast many former players participating in it! In case you have young ones watching the game, here's how to talk to your kids about deflategateIn other news, Raiders fans can breathe a sigh of relief that Sheldon Adelson pulled out of the Las Vegas stadium deal (and it seems Goldman Sachs as well), removing the current threat to move the team out of Oakland.

I have been personally converting all of my unaffiliated friends into Falcons fans, and here's how you can fake it, too. As always, if you're up for some football or non-football related Super Bowl Prop Bets, shoot me a text! Below are your usual attributes of the big game and which team they favor.

What: Super Bowl LI between the New England Patriots and my Atlanta Falcons!!! The top offense of the Falcons battling the top defense of the Patriots should make for a fun game capping off an unexciting postseason. In historically similar games, the top defense won four out of five times. Advantage Patriots.

When: Kickoff takes place at 6:30 EST, Sunday, Feb 5, but if you're feeling more meta, the first announcement of when Super Bowl LI starts was published at 1:20pm EST, Friday, Jan 20. FOX brings us announcers Joe Buck and Troy Aikmen, so you can be forgiven for turning down the sound and just blaring Migos during the entire event. At least the toughest person at the Super Bowl will be on the sideline. As of this writing, Tom Brady has never lost to the Falcons. Advantage Patriots.

Who: Donald Trump and the City of Atlanta square off again after the Unforced Error insulted beloved District 5 Congressman and Civil Rights hero John Lewis. The Patriots installed Donald Trump as president while the Falcons' owner Arthur Blank recently spoke out against him. Quarterbacks Thomas Edward Patrick Brady Jr and Matthew Thomas Ryan bring us a record number of first names in the Super Bowl. America should and is rooting for the Falcons. Advantage Falcons.

Where: NRG Stadium in Houston, TX, the American city that welcomes the most refugees. Aside from Houston being a sprawling metropolis on par with Atlanta, Twitter found that people protesting the Donald's immigration policies are also Falcons fans. Advantage Falcons.

How: As the number one and two seeds going into the playoffs, the Patriots and Falcons both rolled over their competition, producing one of the more boring postseasons so far. Push.


Advantage Falcons.

Offense: With the number one scoring offense, the Dirty Birds look to utilize sweet death WR Julio Jones, their dual threat at running back, and focus on the tight end position rivaling that of the Pats. That the Pats are still undefeated with Dion Lewis in the lineup is no match for that. Advantage Falcons.

Defense: The Patriots possess the stingiest scoring defense in the NFLFans of punk rock will appreciate the Misfits appearing in the secondary for the Falcons. The Dirty Birds young defense features sack leader Vic Beasly and is leaning on the experience of Dwight Freeneybut even with all that, the Atlanta defense could be basically fucked. Advantage Patriots.

Uniforms: As the 'home team' of the Super Bowl, Atlanta opted for their cooler red uniforms, meaning that the Pats get their lucky white ones. Advantage Patriots.

Entertainment: Migos Lady Gaga has been coy about the details of her halftime performance, but it's likely she'll sport a dress made of deflated footballs and make political statements against Donald Trump. Advantage Falcons.

Celebrities: Although Samuel L Jackson is doing his best to support the Falconsthe cringeworthy caricature of Boston brought to you by Mark Wahlberg, Ben Affleck, and Matt Damon is what sticks in the minds of most. Advantage Patriots.

Music: Aerosmith and the New Kids on the Block don't hold a candle to the depth and quality of hip-hop offered by the ATL, including Outkast, Ludacris, Lil Jon, Gucci Mane, T.I., Future and Migos, who just dropped today's hottest hip-hop album, to name a few. Atlanta already annihilated New England in the Super Bowl of music. Advantage Falcons.

Taglines: The Patriots' 'Do Your Job' and Falcons' 'In Brotherhood' are both corny, yet somehow effective. Push.

Curses: Capping off a sports season that saw the Chicago Cubs win their first World Series in over a hundred years and Cleveland win a championship of any kind, my Dirty Birds finally hoisting the Lombardi trophy over their heads would make for a third. Advantage Falcons.

Awareness: Amid the country descending into chaos the past two weeks, Pats QB and noted Trump supporter Tom Brady "[hasn't] really paid attention" because he's "just a positive person" while HC Bill Belichick only knows he's "got a big game." Falcons WR Mohamed Sanu, the only Muslim player in the Super Bowl, much like the rest of us, is aware of what's happening but prefers not to think about it. Advantage Falcons.

Security: New England fans have been changing their router passwords to GO_NEWENGLAND so anyone can hack their wi-fi, whereas Falcons OC Kyle Shanahan lost a backpack containing the offensive playbook for half an hour (luckily safe from the eyes of Bill Belichick). Push.

Nature: Apparently animals are cheering on the Falcons while Boston is located in the inhospitable northeast. Advantage Falcons.

Romance: President Trump recounted a time when Patriots HC Bill Belichick gave him hugs and kisses on the sideline while telling him that he loved him. Also Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski scored the 69th touchdown of his career this season, so he's definitely not going to get another one even if he wasn't injured for this game. Advantage Falcons.

Partying: Atlanta's mayor is keeping the bars up extra late for celebrating Falcons fans, while Atlanta gas stations have put Sam Adams on lockdown to prevent Bostonians from having fun. Advantage Falcons.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

i <heart> nfl: championship weekend!

This football update comes early by virtue of the Unforced Error being installed as our Commander in Chief tomorrow combined with more mundane things like preparing for an important experiment. And then I'll be attending the Women's March on NYC on Sat as well, so it's important I get this posted before anything goes down. If you're feeling glum, you may want to put things in perspective by reading about how bad (the formerly San Diego) Chargers fans have it.

Sun 3:05pm FOX (PJ Leahy's, LIC, NYC): The GB Packers are forced to play in the final football game in the Georgia Dome, which is in Rep. Jon Lewis' congressional district, which is in horrible shape and falling apart (not to mention crime infested), in order to square off with my Dirty Birds. ATL's ground game coupled with their overlooked defense might make it difficult for GB QB Aaron Rodgers to play backyard ball while his parents are actively cheering for ATL QB Matt Ryan. Rappers are already vigorously supporting ATL if they're not confused about it.

6:40pm CBS: After kicking it in the divisional round last week, the Yinzburgh Stillers travel to Gillette Stadium in Massachusetts, the only place NFL Commissioner Roger 'The Ginger Hammer' Goodell fears to tread. Yinzburgh star WR Antonio Brown let it be known, via InstaChat, that the Stillers spotted those assholes [the Patriots] a day and a half, but will be ready for their ass, while the Patriots are confident that all the locker room footage they have of other teams would never end up on social media. The Patriots are also facing a backlash in their liberal home state because of their close association with the President-elect, so I wouldn't rule out an errant tweet or two.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

i <heart> nfl: divisional weekend!

Welcome to Rematch Weekend! That's right, each of these four games is a repeat contest from earlier in the season, with yours truly especially rooting for a reversal of prior fortunes. In the interest of public safety, the Steelters-Chiefs game has been pushed to the evening due to an ice storm in Kansas City. In other football news, the Superchargers officially moved to LA, the Raiders have filed relocation papers to move to Las Vegas, and Bo knows he wouldn't play football if he knew what he knows now. Onto the games!

Sat 4:35pm FOX (Barrow St Ale House, W Village, NYC): Even my Dirty Birds' ball boys are winning championships, as they host a Seattle Seahawks squadron that is trying to figure out what the hell they are, with only two original members of the Legion of Boom and an offensive line that's a liability against QB/fullback Russell Wilson. Seattle will certainly benefit from a late-game non-call while the City of Atlanta has already stolen their colors. 8:15pm CBS: Even though the NE Pats are going through the latest scandal of enjoying themselves on a boat, they won't need to cheat against a Texas Houstons franchise that hasn't figured out how to beat them. Pats TE Martellus Bennet in particular is looking forward to getting laid this evening while QB Tom Brady has had plenty of comfortable sleep, giving him the time to dream up ways to counter the Houstons' damn good defense.

Sun 4:40pm FOX (PJ Leahy's, LIC, NYC): After sinking the NYFG-men last week, GB Packers QB and King of the Hail Mary Aaron Rodgers and their offense look to light up the grass against the dominant Dallas Cowboys, whose star rookie RB Ezekiel Elliot recently received a good omen in the form of a car wreck. Fellow rookie QB Dak Prescott and star wideout Dez Bryant are the keys to keeping Green Bay's offense off the field. 8:20pm NBC: After executing the Dolphins QB last week, the Yinzburgh Stillers hope to hold back the productive KC Reidskins offense and force some classic Andy Reid clock management errors. The KC defense is not sure about which Ben Roethlisberger to prepare for, but I'd bet on the one with the needlessly hurt ankle.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

i <heart> nfl: wildcard weekend!

Welcome to the playoffs that will culminate in Super Bowl LI!!! Congratulations to the Packers and Lions for joining the the postseason, although that had a lot more to do with the Washington [Redacted]'s loss than the game they actually played. Before anyone gets too cocky, here's the fatal flaw in each of your favorite teams. Onwards to the games!

Sat 4:35pm ABC (Campeon, Union Square, NYC): In his first pro start in the NFL and the postseason, Oakland Raiders 3rd-string rookie QB Connor Cook will start against big cash money former backup Texas Houstons QB Brock Osweiler, who is everything you want in a quarterback until he steps on the field, in the Meineke Car Care Bowl! Cook's MSU scouting report indicates the kind of leadership at the position that will at least bring us a lot of Marquette King action8:15pm NBC: While I'm quite certain that 2 pumps ends up being more expensive than 3 in the long run, the Seattle Seahawks host a D'town Lions team hoping to give Seattle the bird.

Sun 1:05pm CBS (Brazen Fox, Union Square, NYC): MIA Fins backup QB Matt Moore has an uphill battle against an inconsistent Yinzburgh Stillers squadron even if they spot them the W and I4:40pm FOX: Human civilization has reached peak Aaron Rodgers, as the QB successfully willed the Packers into the playoffs where they will face a stout NYF Giants defense that's been preparing for him with the aid of Madden. On the other side of the ball, QB Eli Manning is doing his part to metamorphosize from regular Eli into Playoff Eli while the receiving core is on a boat yet lacking the preparatory skills needed to bring their flippy-floppies.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

i <heart> nfl: whitebear justice park

Congratulations firstly to the Dallas Cowboys (NFC 1st seed), ATL Falcons, Seattle Seahawks, NY Football Giants (NFC 5th seed), NE Patriots, Oakland Raiders, Yinzburgh Steelers (AFC 3rd seed), Texas Houstons (AFC 4th seed), KC Chiefs, and MIA Dolphins for making the playoffs (and none to me for missing another post on Xmas weekend!). We have four teams vying for the final two spots in the postseason (both in the NFC), and if your team was supposed to be one of them, here's the moment it started going wrong for them. Also interesting is that four of the teams in the playoffs will be featuring starting QB's with no playoff experience, whether due to injury as for the Raiders and Dolphins, benching due to the shittiness of the QB you gave an $72 million contract to as with the Houstons, or you managed to pick a very talented rookie as did the Cowboys. On top of that we've got two more head coach firings! Baguars HC Gus Bradley was shitcanned and then forced to ride home with his former team on their chartered plane. And the Ryan brothers rode away into the sunset in Rex's obnoxious Bills truckas this Buffalo Bills franchise is literally rewriting history after also benching former starting QB Tyrod Taylor. Finally, let the NFL provide you with inspiration for all of your New Year's resolutions.

To keep things simple, I'll go through all the games that have playoff implications this weekend.

Sun 1pm: The TB Bucs probably stop here, as they require a seven-game parlay, which includes a tie game, to make the postseason, as they host the Carolina Panthers, who really need a sabbatical after not catching a break all season. Backup QB Matt Moore will manage the MIA Fins to a 5th or 6th seed showing in a game that the NE Pats need to win to get 1st seed in the AFC.

4pm-ish: (Misconduct Tavern, Center City Philly) After clinching the NFC South, my Dirty Birds look for a playoff bye as they hate the hosted NO Aints, who will play without a Pro Bowl QB and soon may see their head coach head for desert-ier pastures. The Oakland Raiders will probably get at least a first-round bye, which probably won't matter since their Super Bowl dreams broke along with starting QB Derek Carr, since the Denver Broncos failed to defend their Super Bowl Championship and are treating Week 17 as an exhibition game. After the doink that changed everything, the KC Reidskins have been outrunning other teams and having their fattest players throw touchdowns in what should be an easy game against the San Diego Superchargers, who have the NFL's worst fans and whose QB Philip Rivers' face is now stuck like that after handing the Cleveland Browns their first win of the season, as they host possibly the last game at the Q because San Diego told the Superchargers to wank off over a stadium deal. The Seattle Seahawks are stunned that they might not have an extra bye week for sexy dancing since they need both a Falcons loss paired with a win against a Santa Clara Niners squadron whose most courageous and inspirational events occurred off the field this season. And how you like the Washington [Redacted] now that they can still make the postseason with a win over the entrenched NYF G-men, as long as the SNF result is not a tie. 

SNF: The winner in this division battle between the GB Pack and D'town Lions determines the NFC North division champion and 4th seed in the playoffs, while the loser may still make wildcard berth depending on what happens prior on that day.