Quantum Algorithms
Wednesday, April 11, 2007
On D-Wave
The D-Wave announcement and flood of articles and postings that have come from it sheds some light on the uneasy intersection of academic research and cutting edge private research.

Companies, being profit oriented, need to maintain a certain level of honesty if they want credibility with their potential customers and investors. They also need to carefully frame their announcements and dealings with the press in order to maximize their attractiveness, without crossing the line into outright deceit.

Scientists, being truth oriented, need to meet a higher level of honesty, the kind that includes bending over backwards to show how they might possibly be wrong.

Few companies could go very far if they attained academic-grade honesty, since exposing all their weaknesses would scare off potential investors. In a world where everyone exaggerates and everyone assumes everyone exaggerates, being very modest as a company is tantamount to admitting failure.

D-Wave doesn't have to please academics, because academics are not investors nor potential customers (on any significant scale). For D-Wave, exposing their technology to academic-grade scrutiny can only be bad: either it will reveal that the emperor is wearing no clothes (i.e. they have essentially built an expensive, 16 bit classical computer) or else they are really onto something, and their ideas will be revealed to potential competitors.
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I'm sure they are going to find that the emperor is butt naked.

This is pretty naive.
Many times industry consults with other experts (both academic and from government labs/FFRDCs) for an independent, objective assessment. These "consultants" sign NDA's (non-disclosure agreements) that prevents them from revealing the details of what they have seen thus protecting the companies intellectual property. This happens very often and just about every technology company I am aware of has done this sort of thing.

The fact that D-Wave has not done this makes me think this is just more "cold fusion".
Even though it wasn't too clear, I was directing my comment at acadamia in general, i.e. people who by definition haven't signed NDAs. I'm sure D-Wave has lots of individual academics working with them; but that's not the same as having an open relationship with academia in general.

In terms of independent assessment, it would be pretty naive for the public to accept the results of any assessment when the details are closed and sealed, although I'm sure it would be useful for the company itself.
I think in D-wave investing only people, who don't care of final result...
I think in D-wave investing only people, who don't care about final result...
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