For those who skipped advanced computer theory, scalable quantum computing is the study of new memory and processing tasks that harness the power of atoms and molecules.
The underlying theory behind quantum computing is that as the number of transistors on computer microprocessors continue to increase, they will eventually need to be measured on an atomic scale.
Scott Aaronson, a quantum scientist at MIT, has issued a challenge to quantum computing (QC) skeptics around the world: prove that scalable quantum computing is impossible in the physical world and he'll hand over $100,000.
"For better or worse, I’m now offering a US$100,000 award for a demonstration, convincing to me, that scalable quantum computing is impossible in the physical world," Aaronson explains on his blog. "This award has no time limit other than my death, and is entirely at my discretion."
To win the prize money, all you need to do is put forward a discovery that dramatically weakens the possibility of scalable QC. While there are no hard rules attached to the challenge, Aaronson suggests that QC debunkers should start off by convincing most of the physics community.
He acknowledges that a general quantum computer might be a long way off, but maintains that the underlying theory is a solid one.
"To clarify: no, I don’t expect ever to have to pay the prize, but... if I did have to pay, at least doing so would be an honor: 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."
"It’s perfectly conceivable that future developments in physics would conflict with scalable quantum computing, in the same way that relativity conflicts with faster-than-light communication, and the Second Law of Thermodynamics conflicts with perpetuum mobiles. It’s for such a development in physics that I’m offering this prize."
Ambitious naysayers can get the full details here.