Four short links: 24 October 2019
- Quantum Supremacy: The Gloves are Off (Scott Aaronson) — Google demonstrated a quantum system that will be exponentially faster, as the number of qubits increases, than a classical system simulating the problem. IBM proposed a way of using the world’s most powerful classical supercomputer (Summit) to brute force a solution faster than the method listed in Google’s paper—but the classical computer solution will still be exponentially slower, as the number of qubits increases linearly. If Google, or someone else, upgraded from 53 to 55 qubits, that would apparently already be enough to exceed Summit’s 250 petabyte storage capacity. At 60 qubits, you’d need 33 Summits. At 70 qubits, enough Summits to fill a city … you get the idea. Amusingly enough, Google made a particular engineering choice purely to extend the gap between quantum and the classical simulations they foresaw (missing IBM’s “just brute force it, bro” solution).
- All Carrots and No Sticks: A Case Study on Social Credit Scores in Xiamen and Fuzhou (Berkman-Klein Center) — the most detailed look at the social credit system, and it’s a long way from Black Mirror. The introduction of these city-level scores by city governments marks the entry of the government in the business of scoring citizens; however, implementation so far reveals a very basic attempt with numerous gaps and question marks, but a far cry from the Western media picture of an all-encompassing score enabled by mass surveillance.
- Schmelvetica — the original Smelvetica was a copy of Helvetica that had its kerning messed with, which made the originally very elegant font look … awful. The creator got a take-down notice. So here’s a Python program that’ll similarly abuse any font you give it. I don’t know why I’m attracted to this horror.