Science and Technology links (March 16th 2019)

    1. There is mounting evidence that clearing old cells (senescent cells) from old tissues has a rejuvenating effect. There are very few such cells in most cases, but they cause a disproportionate amount of problems. Anderson et al. find that this effect might even extend to our hearts

      clearance of senescent cells in mice alleviates detrimental features of cardiac ageing, including myocardial hypertrophy and fibrosis.

      Cells in our hearts do not divide very much or at all, but the authors find that they still “age” due to genetic damage.

    2. Dyakonov, a famous physicist, is quite critical of the notion that quantum computers might be the future of computing:

The huge amount of scholarly literature that’s been generated about quantum-computing is notably light on experimental studies describing actual hardware. (…) There is a tremendous gap between the rudimentary but very hard experiments that have been carried out with a few qubits and the extremely developed quantum-computing theory, which relies on manipulating thousands to millions of qubits to calculate anything useful. That gap is not likely to be closed anytime soon.

We should always be skeptical regarding negative predictions. However, Dyakonov indicates that there is overwhelming emphasis on theory at the expense of practice. This is often a bad sign: theory is useful but disconnected theory is easily overrated.


Published by

Daniel Lemire

A computer science professor at the University of Quebec (TELUQ).

3 thoughts on “Science and Technology links (March 16th 2019)”

  1. On quantum computing, I’m inclined to agree. Afterall, if AI and quantum computing are communally successful, I’m out of a job. Who needs a clever person to come up with good algorithms, when quantum computing is exponentially faster and AI is smarter? 🙂

      1. Probably. We’d all have to get a lot smarter, though, unless programming models can be built so that people don’t have to understanding how quantum computing works.

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