Ancient history: DEF CON 9 Talk on Quantum Computers

Sunday, November 21, 2021 

Quantum Computing and CryptographyI wrote a little email screed to a friend about the risks to bitcoin from advances in quantum computing and was reminded of a paper I presented at DEF CON 9 back in 2001 on Quantum Computing, back then limited to 8 qubits.

The remotely relevant bit was what I really hope someone (other than me) will call “Gessel’s law” (after Moore’s law: P=2(y/1.5)) on the power of quantum computing, at least once, as I believe it may have been the first presentation of the formulation: P=22(y/2)

How did my predictions hold up over the last 20 years?

I estimated Quantum Supremacy within about 10 years, or 2011.  D-Wave claimed to offer a quantum computer 15x faster than a classical computer in 2015, 3-4 years later than I predicted.  Google claimed quantum supremacy in 2019.

In 2020, D-Wave claimed to have a quantum computer with 5,000 qubits, slightly ahead of my prediction of 4,096 by 2021 back in 2001.

I did an analysis of the last 25 years of quantum computers and development stalled a bit between 2006 and 2016, but is taking off now.  There’s more detail in a new post with a some more data on the exponent’s divisor in Gessel’s law, but 2.0 still splits the difference for full-period development rate and 2016 on development rate.

This video of the original talk in 2001 has subtitles but web players don’t have such advanced controls yet, you can download  the video (23MB) and play with VLC to see them.

webm: A video of the original talk

pdf: an updated version of the talk as a transcribed paper

I took some time to edit the conversational language and correct and update after 22 years, the PDF is linked.

Quantum Computing and Cryptography Defcon 9.0, 15 July 2001, 10:00 Alexis Park Resort, Las Vegas, Nevada Edited transcript with slides

Also avail on youtube at

Original Slides:

Original Notes: 

The edited transcript with edited slides is transcribed into Blog format below.

Read more…

Posted at 16:37:44 GMT-0700

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