Something about the internet makes true irony hard to appreciate, though I suppose the popular song doesn’t help either. Personally, I really appreciate a delicious bit of irony and especially so when it’s happening to me. Would you believe it, I have one to share with you!
Ten Thousand Knives
My PhD project is focused around cleaning up a complex and noisy set of data*, specifically data which is going to be used for understanding how to make a quantum computer (among other things). This happens to involve learning how to solve a difficult type of problem known as “Global Optimization” – essentially working out what combination of a large number of variables gets you the best result. An example would be assigning work hours to the entire staff of Virgin Rail without over- or under-working anybody, without cancelling holidays, etc.
So what’s ironic about this? Well it turns out that this kind of problem is what quantum computers are very good at. Ironically, the best tool for this part of trying to make a quantum computer is actually a quantum computer.
I love irony.
* As we say in the business; “It’s a little more complicated than that.”