You may, like me, have got inured to seeing headlines saying that quantum computers or quantum networks are “one step closer”. This at the same time as others claim that such things are mirages, while yet others claim that they are not necessarily mirages but are perhaps 25 years away.
But if any such announcement does in fact relate to something that is one step closer, then one step closer to what exactly?
And one step, maybe yes, but one step which is how small or how big?
Moreover, one step out of how many steps of that size necessary to get to the goal?!
And what is the goal, anyway?
In the absence of answers to such basic questions, all announcements of the sort mentioned above are simply hype.
To become more than hype, we need first of all an agreed definition of what would constitute a “fully functioning quantum computer” or a “minimally functioning quantum internet”.
The fact is that researchers are pursuing different routes towards ill-defined goals, and they prefer to keep the goal ill-defined, lest their route to that “goal” be somehow compromised.
And it is of course true that defined goals can get in the way of greater goals.
Nevertheless, progress can be made if we define the goals now, and revise them say every 3 months or every month or even every minute if progress is being made at such speed as to necessitate a “growth” in the definition(s).
So who wants to take the initiative towards setting up a group to acceptably define a “fully-functioning quantum computer” or even a “minimally-functioning quantum computer”?
And, of course, ditto for a quantum internet.