Your submission is now in Draft mode.

Once it's ready, please submit your draft for review by our team of Community Moderators. Thank you!

Your essay is now in Draft mode

Once you submit your essay, it will be available to judges for review and you can no longer edit it. Please make sure to review eligibility criteria before submitting. Thank you!

Submit Essay

Once you submit your essay, you can no longer edit it.


This content now needs to be approved by community moderators.


This essay was submitted and is waiting for review by judges.

Will Google make a "watershed" announcement about quantum computing in early December?


Quantum computers make use of the properties of quantum mechanical (as opposed to classical) systems to solve certain problems much more efficiently than a classical computer can.

For example, using a quantum computer, large numbers could in principle be factored into primes using Shor's algorithm in polynomial time, versus near-exponential time for classical computers; this latter inefficiency underlies the security of many encryption schemes.

A prototypical quantum computer is composed of N "qubits," or quantum mechanical bits. Keeping these qubits operating as a closed system that retains its quantum character (without "decohering" via interactions with the environment) is a difficult challenge for more than a handful of qubits.

However, there have been a series of claims by D-wave systems that it had constructed quantum computers of a different type with thousands of qubits. These machines cannot enact generic quantum compuing algorithms like Shor's. However they are claimed to be dramatically faster at certain optimization problems.

There has been widespread skepticism towards D-wave's claims, with some asserting that D-wave's system does not use quantum mechanics at all, and others arguing that even if it does, that this provides no real speedup relative to classical computers.

Nonetheless, Google has purchased D-wave systems for testing, and Google, NASA and others recently signed a multi-year agreement to test the systems.

On November 11, a D-wave board member has announced that there will be a "watershed announcement" at Google on Dec. 8 about quantum computing. Will this occur, and be a major change or breakthrough in computing or quantum computing?

The question resolves as "true" if either the New York Times or Washington Post carries a story based on Google's Announcement on the front page prior to December 15, 2015.

Make a Prediction


Note: this question resolved before its original close time. All of your predictions came after the resolution, so you did not gain (or lose) any points for it.

Note: this question resolved before its original close time. You earned points up until the question resolution, but not afterwards.

This question is not yet open for predictions.

Current points depend on your prediction, the community's prediction, and the result. Your total earned points are averaged over the lifetime of the question, so predict early to get as many points as possible! See the FAQ.

Metaculus help: Predicting

Predictions are the heart of Metaculus. Predicting is how you contribute to the wisdom of the crowd, and how you earn points and build up your personal Metaculus track record.

The basics of predicting are very simple: move the slider to best match the likelihood of the outcome, and click predict. You can predict as often as you want, and you're encouraged to change your mind when new information becomes available.

The displayed score is split into current points and total points. Current points show how much your prediction is worth now, whereas total points show the combined worth of all of your predictions over the lifetime of the question. The scoring details are available on the FAQ.

Thanks for predicting!

Your prediction has been recorded anonymously.

Want to track your predictions, earn points, and hone your forecasting skills? Create an account today!

Track your predictions
Continue exploring the site