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$100,000 If You Can Prove Quantum Computers Impossible

By - Source: Scott Aaronson | B 52 comments

A researcher at MIT is promising to pay $100,000 to the individual or group of individuals who can prove that the creation of a functional and scalable quantum computer is impossible.

The award was prompted by an article describing the views of a quantum computing skeptic and a proponent. As part of the discussion Scott Aaaronson was challenged to support his opinion with real money, which he now did.

Aaronson himself believes that scalable quantum computers will be possible one day and he does not think that he will ever be forced to pay out the reward. To critics, who said that his challenge is similar to being asked to prove that there is no Bigfoot, he replied that there may be future discoveries in physics that could provide evidence against the quantum computer model, which would be enough for someone being entitled to collect the prize.

Aaronson said that he does not expect this evidence to ever surface, but he "would welcome [it] as the scientific thrill of [his] life." If he had to pay, he would consider it as an "honor" to do so: "For I’d then (presumably) simply be adding a little to the well-deserved Nobel Prize coffers of one of the greatest revolutionaries in the history of physics."

In an update, Aaronson now challenged skeptics to put up a prize for "a demonstration that scalable quantum computing is possible." He added that he is "certainly not offering such a prize."

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  • 30 Hide
    dalethepcman , February 9, 2012 7:35 PM
    I offer $1,000,000 USD to anyone or any group of people that can scientifically prove
    the apocalypse is coming 12/20/2012, to be paid out Jan 1st 2013.


  • 16 Hide
    madjimms , February 9, 2012 7:54 PM
    You guys do realize he is doing this so people will TRY to prove him wrong and ADVANCE the science behind it right? Hes trolling you guys & you fell for it! LOL!
  • 13 Hide
    Anonymous , February 9, 2012 7:13 PM
    Don't...er...quantum computer prototypes already exist?

    http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn17736-codebreaking-quantum-algorithm-run-on-a-silicon-chip.html
Other Comments
  • 13 Hide
    Anonymous , February 9, 2012 7:13 PM
    Don't...er...quantum computer prototypes already exist?

    http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn17736-codebreaking-quantum-algorithm-run-on-a-silicon-chip.html
  • 13 Hide
    jacobdrj , February 9, 2012 7:17 PM
    The Vulcan Science Directorate has deemed time travel impossible, and we all know how THAT ended...
  • -6 Hide
    wiyosaya , February 9, 2012 7:19 PM
    Sorry, but this is a bunch of crap, IMHO. I'll liken proving quantum computing impossible to proving psychic phenomena is true - both are something that cannot be done within the bounds of current scientific capabilities. So, this award is crap. They are only offering it to 1, make a name for themselves, and 2, because they know it is impossible and therefore their money is safe.
  • 11 Hide
    irh_1974 , February 9, 2012 7:21 PM
    Ahhhh, the old "You Can't Prove A Negative" arguement, I can see this decending into theology at any moment, people chunnering on about Russells Teapot or the Flying Spagetti Monster.
  • 5 Hide
    shiftmx112 , February 9, 2012 7:29 PM
    This sounds like a geekier version of a typical end of the night bar conversation.
  • 30 Hide
    dalethepcman , February 9, 2012 7:35 PM
    I offer $1,000,000 USD to anyone or any group of people that can scientifically prove
    the apocalypse is coming 12/20/2012, to be paid out Jan 1st 2013.


  • 16 Hide
    madjimms , February 9, 2012 7:54 PM
    You guys do realize he is doing this so people will TRY to prove him wrong and ADVANCE the science behind it right? Hes trolling you guys & you fell for it! LOL!
  • 11 Hide
    lashabane , February 9, 2012 8:04 PM
    irh_1974Ahhhh, the old "You Can't Prove A Negative" arguement, I can see this decending into theology at any moment, people chunnering on about Russells Teapot or the Flying Spagetti Monster.

    Don't you be talking bad about my beloved Flying Spaghetti Monster.
  • 5 Hide
    lamorpa , February 9, 2012 8:05 PM
    Is the Scott Aaaronson referred to in the first paragraph the same person as the Scott Aaronson referred to in the rest of the article? Maybe it's some sort of rating? Scott Aaa Ronson vs. Scott Aa Ronson? Is there a Scott Aronson or Scott Ronson of a lower rating?
  • 6 Hide
    canadian87 , February 9, 2012 8:31 PM
    All those who believe in Psychic Telepathy, raise my hand.
  • 6 Hide
    Squall321 , February 9, 2012 8:56 PM
    Where's Sheldon Cooper, when we need him
  • 3 Hide
    jellico , February 9, 2012 8:58 PM
    This is a sucker's bet. It is fundamental logic that you CANNOT prove a negative. Something is only impossible until it is not.
  • 3 Hide
    Anonymous , February 9, 2012 8:59 PM
    If I can Prove Quantum Computers is Impossible. $100,000 is not enough for me to pay for my debt for the equipment I purchase for the experiment,
  • 0 Hide
    compton , February 9, 2012 9:03 PM
    Snooze....
  • 2 Hide
    jay2tall , February 9, 2012 9:19 PM
    I bet you people will learn more out of trying to disprove this than they realize. I hope someday it is feasible. Who knows then.
  • 4 Hide
    alidan , February 9, 2012 9:30 PM
    oh_noAn MIT "researcher" ?Wow, you can't prove a negative.What an idiot.

    i can prove that 1+1 does not equal 3

    im assuming that the same principals are at work... you also have to imagine that if you wanted to get a government grant for quantum computer research would be a hell of allot easier to get if you could also say that the greatest minds in the world are working to disprove the possibilities, so far they have come up with nothing.
  • 3 Hide
    Anonymous , February 9, 2012 10:08 PM
    I'm not sure why so many people think you can't prove a negative. Spend ten minutes googling and you'll realise that's not correct. You are referring to unfalsifiable claims (which is where the flying spagetti monster comes in), which by definition cannot be disproven, but that does not mean every claim is unfalsifiable.

    Google 'the halting problem' if you want a computing example of a proof of impossibility.

  • 2 Hide
    stingstang , February 9, 2012 10:42 PM
    Easy for a quantum professor. Simply state why what we know consider a "Quantum Computer" doesn't have anything to do with quantum physics. Wish I could understand it just a little better.... I know that much, though.
  • 0 Hide
    tgoyer , February 9, 2012 10:59 PM
    You can't prove impossible. You can only prove improbable.
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