My Cover-Article in the iX-Magazine 06/2024 about NISQ

I am delighted that the well-known German iX-magazine about professional computing has published my new article: As a 7-page cover-story about NISQ in the current June-issue.

Image by Heise Media GmbH & Co KG

The iX-magazine and Quantum Computing

I think, it is fair to say that the iX-magazine is the major magazine about professional computing in Germany. Because of my popular German online-book for curious people I have been in regular contact with the publisher Heise for a few years now: Starting with my initial “press release” in the high-traffic forum of Heise’s ecosystem in 2019 which has sparked great attention among IT-specialists. In 2022 I published a mini-series about quantum computing algorithms for fault tolerant quantum computers in the iX, with the goal to introduce into the strange world of quantum algorithms. Back then I had another article in mind about NISQ. My intention was to write about quantum annealing and quantum variational algorithms and some nice use cases.

Yet, I wanted to wait for a few solid success stories first …

About the current state of NISQ

A few months ago Heise’s editors contacted me again, because they planned another issue with the cover topic “quantum computing”. That got me thinking again: Is there currently any story about NISQ, that I could sell the public with a clear conscience?

Regarding NISQ, I have an ambivalent position: NISQ is a fascinating young technology. Also it turned out to be a great platform to explore the world of quantum computers, to establish a new industry and new ecosystems. NISQ hardware helps to prepare institutions and the public a great deal for the dawn of the quantum computer era. Last but not least, I think, the research on NISQ-algorithms will keep to be relevant due to computational overhead of logical fault tolerance. Also note my article “Does Quadratic Quantum Speedup have a problem?” about this topic.

On the other hand: Too often NISQ has been misused in the past, to generate attention and to generate funding and venture capital, see Scott Aaronson’s nice article “QC ethics and hype: the call is coming from inside the house” on this topic. My opinion about this: As the public has accepted the fact that quantum computing has great potential, we must avoid to gamble with this credit, as this will not get us very well through “quantum winter”.

To my concern, there seems to be a slight shift in the public position already I sense a certain suspicion.

Yet, as this mistrust does not do justice to the technology itself and the community as a whole, may-be now is exactly right time for an article about NISQ.

My cover-article about “The search for an early quantum advantage“

It is challenging to outline a realistic picture of the current state of NISQ to a broader audience in a way, that is both informative and educational.

Cutting through the hype, the sales talk and the setbacks, the doubts … I think, there remains an important story to tell: It is the story about a young and fascinating technology – and it is the story about its new and skilled community:

  • exploring ideas

  • identifying constraints

  • rethinking

  • finding new ways

  • and step by step pushing the limits

  ➡ dedicated to utilize this technology.

I thank the publisher Heise for giving me the opportunity to tell such a story in a full 7-page cover-article in the June issue of the German iX-magazine for professional computing:

“Die Suche nach dem frühen Quantenvorteil”

I take a broader audience on a journey to hand-picked major milestones of the NISQ-era … to get a glimpse behind the scene, about what was demonstrated – and what was not (!).

Along the way I introduce important concepts of quantum and interesting fun facts

  • About the birth of a new industry

  • Fault tolerance and its computational overhead

  • The RIACS NISQ newsletter as a key performance indicator

  • The extended Church-Turing-thesis and the exponential Hilbert space of quantum

  • Interference, entanglement and a “quantum coin flip“

  • Google Quantum AI’s random circuit sampling and what’s the deal with the XEB-fidelity?

  • The Chinese Academy of Science and their XEB-“spoofing attack” on Google’s circuit


  • The inspiring potential of NISQy states and variational “quantum tunnels“

  • First successes and the parameter shift rule

  • Jarrod McClean’s barren plateaus and the curse of the Hilbert space

  • Samson Wang, Fontana and Cerezo’s noise induced barren plateaus


  • Searching for the right use case

  • Many body localization and creating stable discrete time crystals


  • IBM Quantum’s utility-experiment and a quantum processor as an Ising-ferromagnet

  • An early Trotter-implementation

  • The idea behind quantum error mitigation and probabilistic error cancellation

  • Reducing the noise model for zero noise extrapolation

  • Computational chemistry strikes back

  • Conclusion and how far are we going the get with NISQ? I think, we will have to see … 🙂

Have fun reading❗

… and please also note the other great cover-article of the issue by Michael Streif from Boehringer Ingelheim

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