xkcd is great

I’m probably late to this and you have probably already heard about it. Anyway its an online comic called xkcd and its great. At first glance I thought, well, stick figures ain’t exactly impressive. But then once you read a few of them you quickly develop an appreciation for the humour in them. Particularly if you know, for example, what sudo means.

And its also educational. To wit, the third row of one of the more recent strips, reproduced below for your reading pleasure. Somewhat tech legal related. Least enough for me. And no, I have no idea how to pronounce xkcd other than saying the letters.

D-Wave’s Quantum Computing Demo

As I mentioned earlier, there was a Canadian company that announced it would demonstrate a working quantum computer this week. And demonstrate they did. Yesterday. In California. Then they released this press release, which is frustratingly short on details.

There was some other minor press coverage, including a short article in Scientific American. The nub:

For the demonstration, he says D-Wave operators remotely controlled the quantum computer, housed in Burnaby, British Columbia, from a laptop in California. The quantum computer was given three problems to solve: searching for molecular structures that match a target molecule, creating a complicated seating plan, and filling in Sudoku puzzles.

But experts say the announcement may be a bit – er – premature. Even if the computer were to work as advertised, it still would be nearly 1,000 times too small to solve problems that stump ordinary computers. Moreover, researchers do not know whether it will work at bigger sizes.

A similar tone was in most other articles that didn’t parrot the press release – namely, that the demo was not very impressive. That part is rather unfortunate, although not wholly unexpected – the company did indicate (somewhere) that this was intended to be a proof of concept to gain interest.

So I guess at least for the foreseeable future, the cryptography industry will still be around.