I just came from Brookhaven National Lab, where I gave my standard colloquium talk on the limits of quantum computers, and got driven around the RHIC accelerator ring by physicist Rob Pisarski. I knew the lab was big; what I hadn’t quite appreciated before getting there is that it’s an entire town, with its own police department, restaurants, etc. In many ways it looks like lots of small towns across America, except that this one’s primary business is smashing gold ions into each other at relativistic speeds and measuring properties of the resulting quark-gluon plasmas.
When I talk to physicists like the ones at BNL, they often find it faintly ridiculous that anyone would doubt quantum mechanics. But people certainly do — even when they don’t admit that that’s what they’re doing — when the alternative is accepting that integers are efficiently factorizable in the physical world. Which brings us to QCSD Lecture 14, on eleven skeptical objections to quantum computing and what can be said in response to them. And yeah, if you’ve been reading this blog for years, a lot of the material won’t be new to you. It’s just one more hunk of meat to throw into the tigers’ den.