Rose's law

I was listening to an episode of Tim Ferriss’s podcast with Steve Jurvetson the other day. Steve it turns out has been investing in Quantum Computer startups since 2003. He introduced me to Rose’s law and the incredible pace at which the computational power of Quantum Computers is increasing. I found it very inspiring and would recommend giving it a listen.

I’ve dug out his original post about Rose’s law here.

Steve Jurvetson graph of Rose's law

[Geordie Rose] went on to suggest that the number of qubits in a scalable quantum computing architecture should double every year. It sounded a lot like Gordon Moore’s prediction back in 1965, when he extrapolated from just five data points on a log-scale. … Like Moore’s Law, a straight line describes an exponential. But unlike Moore’s Law, the computational power of the quantum computer should grow exponentially with the number of entangled qubits as well. It’s like Moore’s Law compounded. … And now, it gets mind bending. If we suspend disbelief for a moment, and use D-Wave’s early data on processing power scaling (more on that below), then the very near future should be the watershed moment, where quantum computers surpass conventional computers and never look back. Moore’s Law cannot catch up. A year later, it outperforms all computers on Earth combined. Double qubits again the following year, and it outperforms the universe. What the???? you may ask… Meaning, it could solve certain problems that could not be solved by any non-quantum computer, even if the entire mass and energy of the universe was at its disposal and molded into the best possible computer. – Steve Jurvetson

I read some great answers on the quantum computing stackexchange highlighting that D-Wave is not a general quantum computer and further that it might be too early to establish a law. Both of which are addressed in Steve’s original post, but certainly fair points to the highlight for the particular question. Regardless of these gotchas, I find it incredibly inspiring to think that even the breakneck speed of Moore’s law might is being surpassed in a practically applicable field. I had until hearing about Rose’s law thought quantum computers were at a far more experimental and academic state than appears to be the case. Very exciting!