Proposal: Quantum Computing

I would highly recommend that the description be changed. Quantum computing is mainly a theoretical and experimental research field at the moment. There are no users of quantum computers at the moment (because there are no uncontroversially functioning quantum computers). For this reason, there are no quantum software developers or hardware developers who are using quantum computing to solve problems, or who are building practically useful systems. In other words, there aren't really any "Quantum Software Programmers or Quantum Data Center Architects". There are quantum algorithm researchers, quantum information theorists, fault-tolerant quantum computing experts, quantum hardware theorists and experimentalists, etc.

There are very intelligent and hardworking people doing research to try to figure out how to do that, which is proving massively challenging - though could possibly happen in the next few decades. A description that reflects this would actually attract more researchers in the field, but the current description makes it seem as though it's a community of people who know little of the subject matter and who have bought into the hyped up popular articles. It is then not likely to get follows.

Note: It is not at all clear where one might comment on an existing proposal. I assume it's in the discussion zone of Area 51, but that's just a guess. It should be clear on the proposal page.

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    You could be right about changing the description, it probably should reflect the current state of affairs in Quantum Computing. Just as side note, do you know anything about this IBM Q? I think someone mentioned to me before, and just reading about their quantum composer, that it seems you can either simulate a quantum computer or get direct access to qubits in an experiment? I'm curious about it myself.
    – snulty
    Jun 23, 2017 at 15:18
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    Hadn't heard about Q. I knew IBM gave people access to a 5-qubit system (hardly a computer), which was called the IBM Quantum Experience, and is very cool. I'm familiar with their group (and actually a former colleague recently joined it). Seems like they and a Santa Barbara group that was bought out by Google are the closest to something that works, but that doesn't even refer to something that does useful calculations. When that stage is reached, everyone will know and the whole research community will acknowledge it. Seems like Q is more of an initiative than a finished product.
    – Sherif F.
    Jun 23, 2017 at 17:24
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    But to clarify, something that does useful calculations is some ways away based on my current understanding of the field. We might have exciting progress in the next couple of years, but getting to doing a useful calculation, I wouldn't bet on anything less than a decade from now. My best guess would be in the range of 20-40 years, with some non-negligible (though possibly small) probability of it never happening. This is assuming current levels of research funding. Just my personal opinion as a novice in the field.
    – Sherif F.
    Jun 23, 2017 at 17:30
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    Would something like '... site for quantum computing [and information?] theorists, experimentalists and quantum engineers as well as amateurs and anyone generally interested in the idea of quantum computing' make more sense? Anyone with over 1000 rep can edit the proposal Jul 31, 2017 at 23:46
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    @SherifF. Notice it was changed 7 days ago.
    – snulty
    Oct 24, 2017 at 11:36
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    @Mithrandir24601 also notice it was updated 7 days ago. Just as an update to this question
    – snulty
    Oct 24, 2017 at 11:37
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    @snulty Yep :) Is there a way to add some sort of 'status complete' message to this? (assuming everyone else is also happy with the new description) Oct 24, 2017 at 18:08
  • @snulty I like the simpler and more general description but I don't think it should be aimed at only computer professionals: "and other computer professionals interested in quantum computing" I think the people most active in the field are physicists, mathematicians, and computer scientists, as well as some engineers ... They're not all "computer professionals". I think it should simply be a Q&A site about quantum computing. There's no real need to specify who is the kind of person who could/should be interested in the topic ...
    – Sherif F.
    Oct 24, 2017 at 19:31

1 Answer 1


Essentially, I mildly disagree with your premise (see below for more details), but agree with your conclusion - the description does need changed. As such, I propose changing the definition to

'For quantum computing theorists, experimentalists and quantum engineers as well as quantum programmers, amateurs and anyone generally interested in the idea of quantum computing'

The problem with your premise is that there are users of quantum computers - while there aren't any scaled-up, universal quantum computers, there are the beginnings of a semi-scaled-up non-universal quantum computer as D-Wave's quantum annealer has been shown to demonstrate entanglement - here's the ArXIv version - confirming it as a quantum annealer. There are also non-scaled-up universal computers such as IBM's 16 qubit chip, with a 5 qubit version available for anyone to use.

If you want to exclude non-universal computers from this proposal, that's a different issue, but there are now people using it for science that's unrelated to quantum computing - as examples, Volkswagen used it to look at route finding for traffic and D-Wave have their own in-house group of scientists researching e.g. condensed matter physics.

I also wouldn't assume that no-one's working on quantum programming languages and there are definitely people who use low-level 'quantum assembly' (again, see IBM's quantum experience)

One thing that there definitely aren't any of are 'quantum data centre architects'. Considering that we don't even know what a fully scaled-up, universal quantum computer will look like, it's safe to assume that there won't be any for a considerable time, if ever.

While there are quantum information physicists, it's debatable as to whether or not this is part of quantum computing and so, this bit is an issue about what is/is not on topic.

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    about your last line, I suppose we'll have to wait for beta (;)) to find out. Aug 2, 2017 at 9:59
  • I mostly agree with you. I admittedly don't know much about quantum annealing, but my understanding is that with D-Wave, for a while, a quantum advantage remained unproven, and that recently, some quantum effects were verified, but I don't know if it has yet been shown that the annealer does everything it's expected to (maybe you can comment on that, and I'll take a look at the Arxiv preprint). As for IBM, has the 16-qubit setup been proven universal? Can it encode a logical state fault-tolerantly, and has it been used to do a computation correctly (even if small)?
    – Sherif F.
    Aug 2, 2017 at 16:58
  • As for the description and naming, low-level 'quantum assembly': isn't this just the gate model, perhaps with the added consideration of efficient approximation of logical gates and fault-tolerant implementations? I think simplicity can serve us well here: how about something like "a forum on quantum computing and quantum information processing", or just "a forum on quantum computing". I think that speaks for itself. If additional specificity is desired, the description can include "researchers, users of quantum architectures, and others interested in the field"
    – Sherif F.
    Aug 2, 2017 at 17:02
  • (Obviously, I cannot change the description because I don't have 1000 rep)
    – Sherif F.
    Aug 2, 2017 at 17:04
  • @SherifF. Sounds about right on the D-Wave front (there's still no 'quantum advantage', but they're at a point that could be considered comparable to a classical computer in a few problems). Whether or not is does what's expected of it would depend on who you ask :P although most of the sceptics are now indifferent. It could also be measurement-based, but the main thing we don't know about is what the architecture's going to be - current 'commonly used architectures' break down by the 1000s of qubits mark at best. I just went by the descriptions of other proposals, explaining who it's for Aug 2, 2017 at 20:19

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