Posted by on
Categories: google QUANTUM COMPUTING

“Want to come to a #quantumcomputing party?” I wasn’t expecting the question. My brain was hurting: I’d just finished an hour-long interview with @Jarrod McClean, a @Google quantum computing scientist, and I was mentally planning to write up my notes. His talk had caught my attention the day before: McClean spoke animatedly, bobbing a magnificent head of shoulder-length ringlets, as he pointed at equations and diagrams on a PowerPoint presentation. His audience consisted of a room full of physicists at the American Physical Society March meeting, the largest physics conference in the world, and I was there to write for the organization’s newsletter. The first quantum computer algorithms, McClean told me, will simulate progressively more complicated molecules with the goal of eventually discovering new useful materials. Sure, I thought, I could do with some lighter chitchat. McClean dug around in his backpack and handed me a postcard with a spiky black ferrofluid droplet splattering onto itself. Above the droplet, the words: “Google Quantum AI Party. Thursday, March 8, 7:30 p.m. Rooftop, Standard Hotel.” It was easily the most glamorous physics party I’d ever set foot in—and elaborate by non-physics standards, too. Surrounded by an open-air view of the LA skyline, the venue had two open bars, fake plants bent to resemble larger-than-life cats, and a sprawling table of finger foods. Performance artists slinked by in pairs, draped in what looked like long beige curtains embroidered with red flowers. They did not respond to questions. Next to the waterbed pods, a small gang of researchers huddled over a laptop, trying to hammer out the next day’s PowerPoint slides. “This would’ve been unimaginable five years ago,” said physicist Stephen Jordan, a Microsoft researcher I ran into near the elevator. “We didn’t have the money or the attitude.”

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.