Open Shtetl Day at QIP’07

So, like, I’m at QIP’2007 in Brisbane, Australia? And, like, everyone’s expecting me to blog about all the wild talks and poster presentations going down in Q-Town? But, like, I don’t actually want to blog about that stuff, since it seems suspiciously close to useful content, the very thing this blog was created to avoid?

I’m therefore declaring an Open Shtetl Day, for all of my readers who happen to be in Brisbane. Here’s how it works: using the comments section, tell the world about your QIP experience. What were the best talks/results/open problems? What happened at the business meeting? (I actually want to know — I skipped it.) What are the most salacious rumors about who’s coauthoring with whom? C’mon, you know you want to post, and you know you’ve got nothing better to do. I can see I’m not the only one in this lecture hall who’s typing away on a laptop.

And get this: after a day or two, I’ll pick the best comments and QIPiest quips, and post them right here in the blog entry proper! QIPers, don’t miss what could be your big break in the competitive quantum blogosphere.

(To preempt the inevitable question: No, there’s not going to be an after-dinner speech this year. But I have it on good authority that there’ll be something in its place.)

11 Responses to “Open Shtetl Day at QIP’07”

  1. Thomas Says:

    QIP 2007 is great! Free food, free COFFEE, white Chardonnay with dinner, sandy yellow beaches in the sun… best poster by far, of course, was the “quantum neuroscience” topic, measuring CHSH violations in neurons or something. I really wonder how that got past the organizing committee?

    I look forward to submitting my comments on recent talks when it’s safe to do so, i.e., I sober up somewhat (thanks Michael Nielsen for a wonderful banquet!)

    Oh yeah, love the blog, Dr. Aaronson!

  2. John Sidles Says:

    Perhaps some kind attendee might briefly summarize Ignacio Cirac’s invited talk on efficient quantum simulation? Also Michael Bremner’s poster on the role of noise in simulation? Much obliged and many thanks!

  3. Aggie Says:

    My favourite moment thus far occured last night at the Fox, when one certain scientist who shall remain anonymous (you know who you are…..Scott — oops!) boogied the night away with 6 gorgeous women. Photographic evidence coming shortly to a blog near you :p

    I want a repeated effort at tonight’s party….although, I can’t guarantee any models….sorry guys!

  4. mick Says:

    No, no-one should talk about my poster. Especially not me.

    Instead, you should go to my blog and check out the video of the panel discussion after the dinner:


  5. John Sidles Says:

    A famous “Fermi Quesion” asked of job candidates was “how many piano tuners are there in Chicago?”. With a similar motivation (and to alleviate boredom while waiting for QIP 2007 news), I asked “How many jobs might potentially be created in quantum system engineering?”

    As raw data, we can collect from Inspec the total peer-reviewed publications each year, for the past 20 years, containing the word “quantum” together with “information OR computer OR computing”, and I verified that the following statistics are reasonably robust with regard to the presence or absence of key words like “algorithm”:

    Year: Articles
    2006: 2209
    2005: 2495
    2004: 2141
    2003: 2118
    2002: 2127
    2001: 1520
    2000: 1514
    1999: 1179
    1998: 1176
    1997: 1100
    1996: 972
    1995: 859
    1994: 720
    1993: 734
    1992: 665
    1991: 568
    1990: 546
    1989: 497
    1988: 402
    1987: 383
    1986: 327

    Hmmmm …. is the era of exponential growth over? Was this apparent “flattening” discussed by any of the QIP speakers?

    Now for the Fermi Estimate. We suppose that every quantum information theory researcher publishes 3-4 articles per year, and the above statistics indicate that there are on the order of 500–700 such researchers. And if we further assume that five engineers are required to stably support (economically speaking) one researcher, then there is a clear economic need for 2500-3500 quantum system engineers.

    Roughly speaking, this Fermi Estimate suggests that every large engineering school in the world will be hiring five to seven quantum system engineers, once the ecosystem stabilizes.

    Comments? Anyone got a different estimate? There’s more to life than “breakthroughs”, ya know!

  6. anon Says:

    Ever since Scott’s blog started, the number of papers has gone down!

  7. Scott Says:

    Do you mean my papers, everyone’s, or both?

  8. mick Says:

    John, in all seriousness what did you want to know specifically about my poster or Ignacio’s talk? Both were about raising a lot of issues.

  9. John Sidles Says:

    Dear Mick. Partly my question was open-ended; I have a lot of respect for you and for Ignacio as researchers (that goes for all the other QIP-07 attendees too), and this respect is accompanied by a strong belief that simulation and computation are as closely related as noise and measurement. Which is to say, simulation and computation are fundamentally the same thing.

    Near the top of a list of our QSE Group’s interest-list would be, first, the use of matrix product states (MPSs) in simulations. What did the folks at QIP-07 have to say about MPSs?

    E.g., what new techniques are people using to construct and adapting them to match the symmetries and dimensionality of a problem? What theorems are they proving about the fidelity of MPS representations? What generalizations of MPSs are being discussed (e.g., we might replace the MPS entries with operators in an ancillary space , and the MPS trace with an expectation value with an adapted state in the ancillary space). Finally, if we regard each MPS as a point on a Kahler manifold, what are the geometric properties of this manifold, and how are they related to the fidelity of the simulation?

    Also near the top of our QSE Group’s interest-list is noise. Even in classical engineering, the propagation of noise in a simulation is equally important to the propagation of signals. And for quantum engineers, noise is arguably more important than signals. The kind of noise-related question that interests us is: what happens when noise in a quantum unravelling simulation is replaced by information-equivalent measurement processes? The trajectories are altered, for sure. Do they become more susceptible, or less susceptible, to high-fidelity representation on Kahler manifolds having an MPS-type algebraic structure?

    The above are all questions to which our QSE Seminar has evolved provisional answers, and it is our strong belief that there are multiple opportunities for further work to be done in this area. It would be astounding to us, and completely contrary to multiple historical precedents of concurrency in quantum research, if there were not many other attendees at QIP-07 who are thinking along very similar lines. The more we all talk, the better, IMHO.

    So, that’s what’s on our plate. If you will be so kind, please dish us up some of that delicious gossip!

  10. Alejandro Says:

    This is completely off topic in this thread, but I think Scott’s blog can’t go on without including a link to this amazingly cool competition:

    Profs Duke It Out in Big Number Duel
    Two Philosophers Vie to Write Largest Possible Finite Number on Chalkboard


    “On Friday, Jan. 26, two philosophers, MIT Associate Professor Agustin Rayo (The Mexican Multiplier) and Princeton Associate Professor Adam N. Elga (Dr. Evil) engaged in the Large Number Duel, in which they attempted to one-up each other by inscribing the largest finite number ever to be written on an ordinary-sized chalkboard. The feat, if successfully accomplished, would be worthy of a note in the Guinness Book of World Records…

    The rules of the duel gave free rein to the contestants’ creativity and humor, maintaining only a ban on the use of infinity, and restricting statements about the number proposed to a primitive semantic vocabulary. The battle itself was intense and the room in the Dreyfoos wing of the Stata Center was packed, with people standing on chairs and at least 20 students craning their necks from the doorway.

    The contest opened in the style of a boxing match, with competitors presented “in the red corner” and “in the blue corner.” Elga went first, writing the number one. “Ha!” announced Rayo, as he countered with a string of ones across the board. Elga retaliated with a clever trick, erasing a line through the base of half of the ones to turn them into factorials.”

  11. Wim van Dam Says:

    Well Scott, I think that by now you can end your “Open Shtetl Day” experiment, as the result is clear: while many readers can recognize a well written blog, it is very hard for the same audience to write one themselves. (This two line reply being a case in point.)