Computer scientists in China have succeeded in achieving “quantum advantage.” It’s been a goal for quantum computer researchers for a long time and a tangible target. Last year, Google announced that it had achieved the feat but other scientists have disputed this, saying that the computation is possible with a better algorithm and a supercomputer. Per Nature, “They have used beams of laser light to perform a computation which had been mathematically proven to be practically impossible on normal computers. The team achieved within a few minutes what would take half the age of Earth on the best existing supercomputers. Contrary to Google’s first demonstration of a quantum advantage, performed last year, their version is virtually unassailable by any classical computer.” The results appeared in Science on 3 December. https://go.nature.com/3lGdQFH
There are so many side stories to the COVID-19 pandemic that it’s hard to keep track. Some are uplifting while others are downright depressing. The BBC ran an article about how catfishing has risen sharply as a result of lockdowns and the loneliness that it often creates. Per the BBC, “According to data from the Hong Kong police, 681 people in the territory were duped out of their savings between January and September this year. It’s more than a 50% jump from last year’s figures.” With the ubiquitousness of video calling and conferencing with apps like Facetime and Xoom, it is an interesting indicator about how important actual real-life interactions stack-up against the virtual. https://bbc.in/3mIbxmR
An article in the Proceeding of the National Academy of Sciences compared the mortality rates of White Americans vs Black Americans. The authors findings highlight the gaping disparities in health between the two populations. Per PNAS, “I estimate how many excess White deaths would raise US White mortality to the best-ever (lowest) US Black level under alternative, plausible assumptions about the age patterning of excess mortality in 2020. I find that 400,000 excess White deaths would be needed to equal the best mortality ever recorded among Blacks… Even amid COVID-19, US White mortality is likely to be less than what US Blacks have experienced every year.” https://bit.ly/37BSLY0
Finally, China wants to play a larger role in the global governance of the Internet. According to Al-Jazeera, “China’s president says he wants to work with other countries to build a shared cyberspace community.” Watch the video here: https://bit.ly/3mHrJVb
It’s the weekend. Have fun. Let’s be careful out there.