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Fri, 16 Mar 2018

Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene confirmed that nuclear plans will remain on the table but will only be implemented at a pace the country can afford.

Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene says the Energy Department will need a budget of R1 trillion for its nuclear plans.

Nene confirmed that nuclear plans will remain on the table but will only be implemented at a pace the country can afford.

The Finance Minister gave his first public address in Tshwane on Monday at a Fedusa conference.

“Which means we must not move away from the existing plans and we’re sitting with the IPPs as we speak on renewable energy, some of them that are due to be signed quite soon, some of them that are already in operation and that have assisted us in alleviating our energy challenge.”

WATCH: Finance Minister Nene’s first public appearance

Source: http://ewn.co.za/2018/03/06/nene-energy-dept-needs-r1-trillion-for-nuclear-plans

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Fri, 16 Mar 2018
SA to raise GDP growth forecasts in October – Nene

National Treasury will probably raise projections for economic growth this year in its October mid-term budget as the country overcomes governance and financial problems that have lowered confidence, said Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene.

Newly appointed President Cyril Ramaphosa reappointed Nene to the role last month. When former leader Jacob Zuma fired him and replaced him with a Des van Rooyen in 2015, the move triggered a sell-off in the rand and bonds.

Policy uncertainty and state graft concerns saw Fitch Ratings and S&P Global Ratings lower their assessments of the nation’s debt to junk. The economy slumped into a recession in 2017 and has mounted a fragile recovery since.

The economy is forecast to expand 1.5% this year, compared with the previous projection of 1.1% and an estimated 1% in 2017, National Treasury said in its 2018 budget review on February 21. Growth will probably accelerate to 2.1% in 2020 as measures aimed at creating policy certainty and attracting investment pay off, it said.

“Prospects look good for an improvement in growth forecasts,” Nene told reporters east of Pretoria on Monday.

The government will from April 1 raise value-added tax for the first time since 1993 as part of measures to stabilise debt and prevent a third junk credit rating. Higher taxes will raise an additional R36bn in the year through March 2019 and be coupled with budget cuts totalling R85bn over three years.

The funds will go toward plugging a revenue shortfall estimated at R48.2bn for this year. Concerns about corruption and poor governance, increased tax avoidance and administrative problems at the nation’s tax-collection agency have contributed to revenue shortfalls.

The nation has to demonstrate efficiency in spending to raise tax morality, Nene said. If “resources are spent in a responsible manner, they’re able to make a huge difference in our people’s lives”, he said.


Source: https://www.fin24.com/Economy/sa-to-raise-gdp-growth-forecasts-in-october-nene-20180306

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Fri, 16 Mar 2018
‘Quantum supremacy will soon be ours!’, says Google as it reveals 72-qu...

Don’t panic: ‘supremacy’ is the point at which quantum kit trumps classical computers

Google scientist Marissa Giustina installs a Bristlestone chip

Google reckons it’s on the cusp of demonstrating “quantum supremacy” with the development of a 72-qubit processor.

Quantum supremacy refers to the point at which a quantum computer should outperform a classical computer, without incurring the performance costs of error correction (as described in this 2016 paper).

Google demonstrated a nine-qubit design in 2014 (published in Nature in 2015), and Julian Kelly, a research scientist at the company’s Quantum AI Lab explained that the previous experiment hit one percent readout error rates, 0.1 percent errors for single qubit gates, and 0.6 percent errors for two-qubit gates.

The 72-qubit design, dubbed “Bristlecone”, aims to “preserve the underlying physics” of its predecessor, scaling up “the same scheme for coupling, control, and readout”.

Microsoft ports its Quantum Development Kit to Linux and macOS

The new device doesn’t quite achieve quantum supremacy; rather, it’s a testbed for research into error rates and scalability “as well as applications in quantum simulation, optimisation, and machine learning”.

However, the post hinted that the processor might be the platform that outperforms a classical computer: “We are cautiously optimistic that quantum supremacy can be achieved with Bristlecone”, Kelly wrote.

Another important characteristic of a 72-qubit machine, as illustrated in the image below, is that it’s still within reach of a classical computer simulation, which is currently the only way to validate both that the quantum computer is operating correctly (since you can cross-check the answers), and that it achieves a speed-up over classical computers.

Kelly’s post drew attention to the need to validate a quantum computer’s operation against a simulator, adding that Google’s developed a suitable benchmarking tool: ““We can assign a single system error by applying random quantum circuits to the device and checking the sampled output distribution against a classical simulation.”

Bristlestone would also, Kelly wrote, help Google’s boffins develop quantum algorithms on “actual hardware”.


Source: https://www.theregister.co.uk/2018/03/06/google_bristlecone_72_qubit_quantum_processsor/

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