Recent comments from SciRate

Felix Leditzky May 24 2017 20:43 UTC

Yes, that's right, thanks!

For (5), you use the Cauchy-Schwarz inequality $\left| \operatorname{tr}(X^\dagger Y) \right| \leq \sqrt{\operatorname{tr}(X^\dagger X)} \sqrt{\operatorname{tr}(Y^\dagger Y)}$ for the Hilbert-Schmidt inner product $\langle X,Y\rangle := \operatorname{tr}(X^\dagger Y)$ wi

Michael Tolan May 24 2017 20:27 UTC

Just reading over Eq (5) on P5 concerning the diamond norm.

Should the last $\sigma_1$ on the 4th line be replaced with a $\sigma_2$? I think I can see how the proof is working but not entirely certain.

Noon van der Silk May 23 2017 11:15 UTC

I think this thread has reached it's end.

I've locked further comments, and I hope that the quantum computing community can thoughtfully find an approach to language that is inclusive to all and recognises the diverse background of all researchers, current and future.

I direct your attention t

Varun Narasimhachar May 23 2017 02:14 UTC

While I would never want to antagonize my peers or to allow myself to assume they were acting irrationally, I do share your concerns to an extent. I worry about the association of social justice and inclusivity with linguistic engineering, virtual lynching, censorship, etc. (the latter phenomena sta

Aram Harrow May 23 2017 01:30 UTC

I think you are just complaining about issues that arise from living with other people in the same society. If you disagree with their values, well, then some of them might have a negative opinion about you. If you express yourself in an aggressive way, and use words like "lynch" to mean having pe

Steve Flammia May 23 2017 01:04 UTC

I agree with Noon that the discussion is becoming largely off topic for SciRate, but that it might still be of interest to the community to discuss this. I invite people to post thoughtful and respectful comments over at [my earlier Quantum Pontiff post][1]. Further comments here on SciRate will be

Noon van der Silk May 23 2017 00:59 UTC

I've moderated a few comments on this post because I believe it has gone past useful discussion, and I'll continue to remove comments that I believe don't add anything of substantial value.


Aram Harrow May 22 2017 23:13 UTC

The problem with your argument is that no one is forcing anyone to say anything, or banning anything.

If the terms really were offensive or exclusionary or had other bad side effects, then it's reasonable to discuss as a community whether to keep them, and possibly decide to stop using them. Ther

stan May 22 2017 22:53 UTC

Fair enough. At the end of the day I think most of us are concerned with the strength of the result not the particular language used to describe it.

VeteranVandal May 22 2017 22:41 UTC

But how obvious is ancilla? To me it is not even remotely obvious (nor clear as a term, but as the literature used it so much, I see such word in much the same way as I see auxiliary, in fact - now if you want to take offense with auxiliary, what can I say? I won't invent words just to please you).

VeteranVandal May 22 2017 22:21 UTC

I don't think science can or should avoid the perpetuation of existing "historical unequal social order" by changing the language, as to me it seems that, if you try hard enough you can find problem with anything you want to be offended at - rationalizations are tricky things you can often get carri

Fernando Brandao May 22 2017 21:37 UTC

I am not sure if the ArXiv is the best venue for this kind of paper/rant. Also, I’m concerned that so much energy is being put into the discussion. As a non-native speaker, I might not get all nuances of the language, but I have a hard time understanding why we should drop a scientific jargon like “

Toby Cubitt May 22 2017 21:25 UTC

I'm sorry if my comment came across to you as "authoritative" or aggressive. It was intended in the spirit of scholarly debate, and is of course as subjective and completely non-authoritative as anything else written here: your comment, the original article, and this reply! Karoline and I were frien

Steve Flammia May 22 2017 21:24 UTC

@Ancilla, you're welcome to contribute your opinion here, but you have to respect the [moderation guidelines][1]. You have made repeated personal insults to people posting here (calling them "twisted", "unhinged", "slow thinkers", etc.) and any more such conduct is going to end with me deleting the

er May 22 2017 21:16 UTC

Oh, I wasn't suggesting that anyone offended was merely looking to take offense. However, the author specifically mentions (for example) "racial segregation", something that, although I cannot claim to know for certain, I'm assuming they have little experience of. Hence: the act of taking offense on

Alvaro M. Alhambra May 22 2017 21:01 UTC

Sorry but how is language not a significant part of the "underlying systemic issues"?

Steve Flammia May 22 2017 20:38 UTC

@Stan, I think that it is misplaced to think that anyone is calling for *censorship*. (Certainly I am not, and I don't support censorship at all.) It is just that we as a community are choosing to create this language, and we have the option to use whatever term we like. Why should we choose a term

stan May 22 2017 20:28 UTC

I can see both sides of the argument, but so far find the proof unconvincing for censorship.

If we want to make science "unoffensive", there are *many* potentially "offensive" terms - 'retarded potentials' in E&M, 'dominating sets', etc. Do we accept that language evolves and thus rewrite scient

Peter Love May 22 2017 20:26 UTC

The connotation I thought of when I first heard this term was Air supremacy (which is distinct from air superiority in the same way that quantum supremacy is distinct from quantum advantage). Then Trump got elected. Now hearing "quantum supremacy" is like poking at a broken tooth with a metal spike.

Steve Flammia May 22 2017 19:48 UTC

Aram, I think the case you are making is the best possible case for keeping the term. That said, the term "quantum supremacy" clearly touches a nerve with some large number of people, whereas I haven't observed that with any of the other terms you've mentioned. So there is some weakness in your argu

Aram Harrow May 22 2017 19:26 UTC

I think sampling and analog simulation are clearly within the scope of "computational." The way I see it is that they do something which is information-theoretically possible with classical computers but would take them too long. So it would exclude precision measurement, but include a cold-atom s

Aram Harrow May 22 2017 19:22 UTC

I get that these words may remind us of something bad, but it doesn't follow that they cause any actual bad effects. For example, they don't strengthen white supremacist groups (as far as I can tell) or make racial minorities feel unwelcome (as far as I can tell). Words have multiple meanings, som

John Preskill May 22 2017 19:12 UTC

I didn't mean capacity or Bell inequalities. I meant that (for example) "computational" might be inferred to include digital but not analog quantum simulators, or to exclude (say) boson sampling, while I had intended for "quantum supremacy" to encompass both. Perhaps I hear it that way because "comp

Um May 22 2017 18:59 UTC

Thanks Er. That sounds to me like a much more coherent argument than the one made in the comment. My main problem with the comment was the author's claim that it was "nonsensical" and had no merit (and the attempt to invalidate the use of the term incorrectly). I agree that perhaps replacing the ter

Barbara Terhal May 22 2017 18:53 UTC

But i also agree that it is not easy to come up with an alternative term which captures both the breadth of the 'advantages' & the possible break-through character of them.

Steve Flammia May 22 2017 18:51 UTC

Regarding the narrowing of the scope by adding "computational", I think that this has somehow already happened with just the original term. I've never heard anyone use the term QS in the context of, say, a Bell experiment or the classical capacity of a quantum channel.

Barbara Terhal May 22 2017 18:41 UTC

it is not even about being directly offensive to other people, i simply can't get myself to say 'quantum supremacy', it suggests some superiority involving human beings (the whole field of QC hitting other people over the head with their 'quantum-supreme experiments').
I mean how do you read a pop

John Preskill May 22 2017 18:41 UTC

The trouble with "quantum computational supremacy" is that the modifier "computational" may invite a narrower interpretation than I intended. For example, does it apply to sampling algorithms, or to super-classical tasks performed with analog quantum simulators? That's why I suggest "quantum ascenda

Steve Flammia May 22 2017 18:23 UTC

Just my mind and the 30 other people that have commented here. If you want a quantitative argument, do an n-gram search for "{adjective} supremacy".

er May 22 2017 18:22 UTC

Ok, that's reasonable. Still, I think it is more than fair to assert that the ancilla example holds (much) less merit than the supremacy example. For one, I am willing to bet that very few people know the origins of the word ancilla (even in such a biased sample as the academic community) Indeed, I

Steve Flammia May 22 2017 18:21 UTC

I don't think it matters if there is a specific oppressed group or not. The issue is simpler than that: there is just a negative connotation and we'd like to avoid it.

stan May 22 2017 18:13 UTC

But who is the oppressed group here? Classical computer scientists?

Markus Johansson May 22 2017 18:11 UTC

Well, I have never referred to myself or any other subset of the quantum information community as simply "quantum" as this would easily lead to confusion due to the imprecise use of the word. Moreover, I have never encountered the phrase "quantum supremacy" in a situation where it had any other mea

Steve Flammia May 22 2017 17:53 UTC

The issue Markus is that "{adj} supremacy", where the adjective denotes a group of people, is offensive. In the quantum computation community, we typically refer to ourselves as simply "quantum", so the bigram precisely fits this pattern. As I advocated above (see also [my blog post][1]), changing t

Um May 22 2017 17:52 UTC

Speaking of a scientific approach, the first point in my comment was to provide evidence to verify the use of the word to mean a maid, even in English, contrary to what was claimed.
However I can understand why you might have overlooked that. Secondly if what you are saying about the image search

Markus Johansson May 22 2017 17:45 UTC

Until today it had not occurred to me that one could associate the phrase "quantum supremacy" with racism or racial subordination. And even after this realisation I have to insist that such an association does not make very much sense.

The word supremacy taken on its own has no meaning directly r

Steve Flammia May 22 2017 17:29 UTC

Also, I am going to use my admin privileges to delete any uncivil comments here. Scirate is a venue for constructive discussion, not flame wars. See the [moderation policy][1].


Steve Flammia May 22 2017 17:19 UTC

"Quantum supremacy" feels so bad precisely because we use "quantum" as a synonym for our peer group. That makes the analogy to the repugnant "white supremacy" particularly close, unfortunately. If people object to "quantum advantage", then another option is "**quantum computational supremacy**", whi

er May 22 2017 17:02 UTC

I'd first like to point out that the Google image results return such images because they are of a person with first name 'Ancilla'. Clearly, if one is looking to be offended, they will usually find something to take offense at.. On that note, perhaps we should refrain from the use of Alice? The Goo

stan May 22 2017 16:49 UTC

Hi Maria. I was suggesting the (trivially non-empty) overlap of the sets "scientists" and "people of color" is the best place to start this conversation (referring to the word 'supremacy').

Maria Schuld May 22 2017 16:39 UTC

This really interesting stan, are you suggesting that "we scientists" should ask "people of colour" for their opinion, assuming that the two are by assumption disjunct groups? Aren't you unintentionally proving the point that the article is making, namely that we should have a closer look at the soc

Um May 22 2017 16:26 UTC

"But the "ancilla" example is nonsensical. Firstly, "ancilla" was not "invented recently for the field of quantum information". More importantly, it has never had the meaning, or even connotation, of "female slave" in English:"

This is incorrect. Wiktionary offers two definitions for the word in

stan May 22 2017 16:09 UTC

Will no one speak the truth!? This is ridiculous. I can't tell if it's satire or not.

Ancillary and supreme are standard English vocabulary.
Do you know who my favorite Motown group was? THE SUPREMES.

With all respect to author, their opinion is a sample size of one. Maybe we should actuall

Marco Piani May 22 2017 16:01 UTC

I would have understood (not necessarily agreed) if you had criticized a potential excess of political correctness; nonetheless, I do not understand how you connect this to 1984, and cite a paragraph about limited vocabulary when above there is a long discussion about the nuances of words as well as

John Preskill May 22 2017 15:53 UTC

I don't think "advantage" captures the concept very well, for the reason others have noted -- it could mean a slight advantage rather than an overwhelming advantage.

I think "ascendancy" is pretty good. It has a similar meaning to "supremacy," without the heavy baggage, and seems less offensive t

Marco Piani May 22 2017 14:44 UTC

To add, if one checks the use of supremacy as in "air supremacy" (

- it makes sense to speak of "supremacy" rather than "superiority" (see
the distinction there), if we really believe quantum computers will
greatly outperform classical computers;

Juan Bermejo-Vega May 22 2017 14:34 UTC

I agree with Tom. Also, "quantum computational supremacy" or "quantum computing superiority" sound good to me. These terms are clearly about computation, and clearly not about the community of quantum scientists.

Tom Wong May 22 2017 14:17 UTC

I would personally raise a strong objection to using "quantum advantage." For decades, computer scientists have been using "computational advantage" or "speed advantage" as meaning any speedup, no matter how small. Search for "advantage" in Nielsen and Chuang, for example. This appearance pre-dates

Juan Bermejo-Vega May 22 2017 14:14 UTC

Instead of "quantum advantage" you should probably say "superpolynomial quantum computational advantage". We are talking about building a quantum experiment that appears not to be simulable in P or BPP with high confidence. If you drop "computational" then "superpolynomial quantum advantage" include

Emma McKay May 22 2017 13:24 UTC

Thank you for this! One hopes we can acknowledge that language is at least as real as quantum computers.