In the comments, many people tried repeatedly to change the subject from (*) to various subsidiary questions.For example: isn’t it possible that D-Wave’s current device will be found to provide a speedup on some generation of machines? Should Cathy Mc Geoch have acted differently, in the type of comparison she agreed to do, or in how she communicated about its results?
This will be my final update on this post (really!!), since the discussion seems to have reached a point where not much progress is being made, and since I’d like to oblige the commenters who’ve asked me to change the subject.I left without asking questions, not wanting to be the one to instigate an unpleasant confrontation, and—I’ll admit—questioning my own sanity as a result of no one else asking about the gigantic elephant in the room. Among the many interesting comments below, see especially this one by Alex Selby, who says he’s written his own specialist solver for one class of the Mc Geoch and Wang benchmarks that significantly outperforms the software (and D-Wave machine) tested by Mc Geoch and Wang on those benchmarks—and who provides the Python code so you can try it yourself.Also, Igor Vernik asked me to announce that on July 8th, D-Wave will be giving a technical presentation at the International Superconducting Electronics Conference in Cambridge.Here’s an analogy: imagine that a biotech startup claimed that, by using an expensive and controversial new gene therapy, it could cure patients at a higher rate than with the best available conventional drugs—basing its claim on a single clinical trial.
Imagine that this claim was widely repeated in the press as an established fact.
It appears that, while the D-Wave machine does outperform certain off-the-shelf solvers, simulated annealing codes have been written that outperform the D-Wave machine on its own native problem when run on a standard laptop.
More research is needed to clarify the issue, but in the meantime, it seems worth knowing that this is where things currently stand.
Did it make business sense for Google to buy a D-Wave machine? Should have acted differently, in my interaction with Mc Geoch?
And, I’m afraid to say, I jumped in to the discussion of all of those questions—because, let’s face it, there are very few subjects about which I don’t have an opinion, or at least a list of qualified observations to make. It would have been better to sidestep all the other questions—not one of which I know the answer to, and each of which admits multiple valid perspectives—and just focus relentlessly on the truth of assertion (*).
Without further ado, here’s what Lidar says: I don’t believe D-Wave’s approach is scalable without error correction.