This more of a personal essay than a discussion, but I am happy to reply to any comments you may have.

My main personal interests are with CS myself, but I am always open for other ideas as long as I can understand them or people have the patience to explain.

Quantum Computing is interdisciplinary. The main disciplines that mingle here are experts from Physics, Computer Science and Programming (note that there may be persons in more than one discipline) For the purpose of this post, I will ignore the programmers, as it is easier to just focus on the pair of Physics and CS and those match my example.

The main thing that I think people should be aware of is that, roughly speaking

Experts from both fields think they know everything about Quantum Computing, but their thoughts can sometimes differ!

An example of this difference in thoughts which was resolved well is this: Chat with Daniel Sank.

Initially, Daniel Sank was of the opinion that my question was purely one of CS, nothing to do with Quantum Computing and that mostly using asymptotic behaviour is not a de-facto standard among algorithmics, but merely a common convention.

He did the right thing and expressed his disbelief and confusion, which let to the discussion in chat. At the end of this discussion, it seems that at least the reason for asking the question has become clear, but also that Daniel has learnt something about my field.

Now, this, I believe, is something that I would say is a succesful instance of two disciplines having a good encounter. I hope that this conversation can be something of an example to others on how it is best to behave on this site.

Let me finish with a bit of concluding advice:

Whenever you disagree with something, don't (only) downvote, talk and listen! Make it clear to all why you think this is something bad and sometimes, you'll be happy to learn you were wrong!

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    $\begingroup$ While I agree with the above (which should really go without saying), is meta supposed to be used for just making a statement without actually asking something? As far as I'm aware it's for asking questions about the site (or similar meta questions), apart from the occasional community announcements that have to be made... $\endgroup$
    – Mithrandir24601 Mod
    Commented Mar 23, 2018 at 1:24
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    $\begingroup$ @Mithrandir24601 As far as I'm aware, meta is a bit 'free form' and allows this. But ask Robert to check if this is ok (the fact that Robert hasn't shown up yet probably means he thinks it is harmless) $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 23, 2018 at 6:50
  • $\begingroup$ @Mithrandir24601 It is ok for some meta posts to be simply 'commands'. Also, it can be a discussion starter. $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 23, 2018 at 6:51
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    $\begingroup$ Might not be the place to say it, but imo nobody knows much about quantum computing. Otherwise, we would either have quantum computers or we would know that they can't be built. $\endgroup$
    – Kiro
    Commented Mar 31, 2018 at 9:22
  • $\begingroup$ @Kiro Hmm, that's a bit too simplistic. Who know quite a bit about the moon, but we can't build that one either. $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 31, 2018 at 9:23
  • $\begingroup$ On the comment by @Mithrandir24601: perhaps it would be more useful to frame this (Being open...) as a question: Whether we should be open... / Up to which point we should be open... / How, in practice, can we be open... $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 10, 2018 at 4:11
  • $\begingroup$ @agaitaarino Yes - asking how we could be (more) open is a good idea $\endgroup$
    – Mithrandir24601 Mod
    Commented Apr 10, 2018 at 7:16
  • $\begingroup$ @Mithrandir24601 Well, the bottom part of the 'question' already gives a partial answer to that question. But perhaps you want to expand on this topic. In that case, I think it is better to start with a separate question. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 10, 2018 at 7:21

1 Answer 1


I think this brings up an important point, and I'm glad you wrote this. I think it's important that a lot of people here remember that this is a rapidly growing and changing field, with people from (as you said) a lot of different disciplines - engineering of all types, physics, computer science, mathematics, and others I probably haven't thought of - coming together to try to create something new.

It's an exciting time, but also a time where we need to remember that snobbery is almost certainly not the best approach to handling interactions on this site (nor is it ever, but now it is especially inexcusable).

  • $\begingroup$ To add to this variety: I know of several people that identify as either chemists or as materials scientists and whose main work is (or has been) to contribute basic research for the eventual goal of building a quantum computer (or, in the shorter term, coherent quantum devices). $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 10, 2018 at 4:14

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