May 6, 2007

Bad quantum press releases: this time, it's personal

Posted by Arcane Gazebo at May 6, 2007 10:19 PM

Scott Aaronson points out an overly-excited press release from NEC, which claims: "NEC, JST and RIKEN successfully demonstrate world's first controllably coupled qubits". This was indeed an exciting development when we published it five months ago. At best NEC has the world's fourth controllably coupled qubits.

That said, the stupidity seems to be limited to the press release, and the paper actually looks pretty interesting, apparently with time domain results that no one else has shown. (I haven't been on the campus network today so I haven't had a chance to read more than the abstract.)

Tags: Physics, Quantum Information, Science

Let me make a brief comment about press releases:

I have had to deal with several from my own work, and it can actually be very hard to prevent those departments from including comments that are retarded. (Like with everything else I do, I have annoyed several PR people by insisting that I see the text through multiple iterations before anything gets released. I still haven't been able to catch everything that way, but it really does take enormous effort to make sure nothing bad remains there. I remember the argument with the PNAS people to downplay partisanship rankings in their press release because that was totally not the point. They wanted to include that because it was what would get people's attention the most even though it was only an ancillary part of the work.) The people writing that stuff typically don't have scientific training, so something that might seem synonymous to them and that just sounds like phrasing that would generate excitement turns out to be something wrong or otherwise damaging.

Anyway, I guess this is a long-winded way of saying that the scientists involved are probably not to blame except that perhaps they didn't proofread the press release closely enough.

Posted by: Mason | May 6, 2007 11:17 PM

If you include non-solid state qubits, then you might even be further down the list on the "world's first controllably coupled qubits!" Of course your (and colaborators) work and the work described in this Science paper are very awesome...grumble grumble press releases grumble grumble.

Posted by: Dave Bacon | May 7, 2007 5:38 AM

It's mine, MINE, I tell you! You can't have it! *runs off cackling*

Posted by: Chris L-S | May 7, 2007 7:44 AM

Look at it this way... you were into controllably coupled qubits before they were cool.

Posted by: Josh | May 7, 2007 8:29 PM

Hey...not a comment about anything posted but... thought you'd find it interesting to know that reciently through facebook I found a friend I hadn't talked to in years (like 10 million other users) and he used to be my video game guru buddy and we used to howl laughing at the funny shit and the one ting that sticks out in my head when I think of him is the phrase "Nupraptor's Head!!" from Legacy of Kain. I googled it trying to find a wav file or something but the only thing I could find was your internal playlist comment. Funny huh? Happen to have at wav kickin around? Drop me a line if you do.


Posted by: Tom | May 13, 2007 8:28 AM
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