Quantum computing promises computational performance that is exponentially faster than any conceivable classical computer. This is due to the theoretically expected scaling of N entangled qubits, with parallel evolution of 2^N quantum states. This is in sharp contrast to classical computing, where N bits may have 2^N classical states, but only one at a time. It is widely believed that quantum superposition and entanglement have been demonstrated in several experimental systems, and that practical quantum computing can be achieved once sufficiently long quantum relaxation times are obtained. On the contrary, we suggest that there may be serious problems with quantum computing on both the macroscopic and microscopic levels, and that the experiments thus far have not proven the existence of non-classical superposition states, which are necessary for the proper functioning of qubits. In order to investigate this further, we propose new experiments in three physical systems: electron spins, single photons, and superconducting loops. We further suggest that certain more limited classes of quantum computing, such as quantum annealing, do not require quantum entanglement, and can achieve significant performance enhancements even if universal quantum computing proves to be impossible.
Comments: 8 Pages. Submitted to International Conference on Rebooting Computing June 2016, to be held in San Diego CA, Oct. 2016
[v1] 2016-07-08 20:43:00
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