# Can We Super-Charge Classic Computers to Match Quantum Computers

December 31, 2010 3 Comments

The answer to the headline is, apparently, yes.

At least for some types of problems, classical computers using specially-developed algorithms can match quantum computers.

A group of researchers applied an algorithm to evaluate the potential classical computational speed. The process has a heavy name to match the heavy concept: the matrix multiplication weights update method.

It kind of reminds me of turning a Model T into a hot rod.

Like most great innovators, the researchers combine two fields of study: combinatorial optimization and learning theory.

Scott Aaronson, an MIT professor and an expert on QC technologies, said that the tech has the potential for application for solving optimization problems in several industries.

The benefits of a classic computer that’s super-charged with QC speeds is obvious. But, I can’t help buy wondering, if fine-tuned algorithms could match quantum computing speed, what would fine-tuned quantum computing algorithms do once QCs are created?

The news reports on Watrous’ work seem to imply that classical computers can “match” quantum computers at everything. That is not what Watrous proved. He proved that classical computers can match QCs when solving a particular class of problems, which does not include those that QCs are famous for, like Factoring (as far as we know, there is no polynomial time classical algorithm for doing that), Grover’s algorithm, certain types of sampling considered by Scott Aaronson, etc.

Thanks Bob–

I think that’s an important distinction. Thanks for pointing that out.

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