Microsoft’s research into quantum computing could be halted

The existence of the particle that underpins Microsoft’s research in quantum computing has not been finally proven. A hard blow to the company that appreciates Be able to create a quantum computer by May 2023. The work Microsoft relies on for its research in this area was published in 2018 and is today questioned by researchers who gained access to all the data and reports. Wired.

Missing data
The researchers claim to have found evidence of majorana fermions, which are particles on which Microsoft’s research in quantum computing is based. An article written under the supervision of Leo Kouwenhoven, a Microsoft employee and 29 other researchers from Delft University in the Netherlands, was published in Nature in 2018 to report these findings.

At the request of other scientists, believing the information was missing, they released more data from their experiments. Two professional physicists now claim that additional data provided by the research group shows that they initially excluded data points that conflict with their findings, according to Wired reports. “From the complete data, there is no doubt that majorana is not present.”Says Sergey Frolov, professor at the University of Pittsburgh.

Confirm bias?
The 2018 document explained that it witnessed signatures of Majorana particles in the electric current passing through tiny filaments of semiconductors being heated to an extremely low temperature. The graph in the article showed points plotting a plateau exactly at the level of the electrical conductivity value predicted by the theory.

But Sergey Frolov explains that the initially unpublished information contains data points that depart from this line. However, by adding them, it indicates that the Majorana particle may not be present. Sergey Frolov does not know why this data is excluded, but he explains that the fact of wanting to validate theories using experiments can lead to the demonstration of confirmation bias and the production of false positive evidence.

Re-examine the 2018 article
Microsoft provided Wired with a statement attributed to Leo Kouwenhoven saying he could not comment on the information because the new paper reinterpreting the results of his research group is under peer review. “We are confident that large-scale quantum computing will help solve some of the biggest challenges facing humanity, and we remain committed to investing in quantum computing.”, He said.

Nature added a “disturbing reading note” to the April 2018 article, and a spokesperson for the magazine said Nature “Working with authors to solve the problem.” A spokesperson for Delft University said an investigation by its Research Integrity Committee, which was launched in May 2020, is underway. A person familiar with the matter said the final report would likely conclude that the Delft researchers made mistakes but did not intend to mislead.

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