Do you know how sometimes in a Wild West-inspired laser duel you face an enemy spaceship in which the one who fires first wins?
What if I tell you that a group of researchers (a murder of physicists?) Have you come up with a way to manipulate the fabric of time and space so that you both die, no matter who fires first? This is probably not the best pitch you've heard for developing quantum computers. But it is interesting.
The researchers, led by scientists from the University of Queensland, have discovered "a new kind of quantum time order". It's like a time travel, but for the universe instead of you. The research focuses on a thought experiment in which an object large enough to affect local gravity is placed in a state of quantum superposition while a series of events occur.
Magdalena Zych, a physicist at the University of Queensland, told the Science Daily :
Imagine two spaceships being called upon to shoot at each other at a certain time while under attack dodge the other.
If one fires too early, it destroys the other.
According to Einstein's theory, a powerful enemy could apply the principles of general relativity by placing a massive object ̵1; such as a planet – closer to a ship to slow overtaking time. Because of the time delay, the ship farthest from the massive object will fire earlier and destroy the other one.
However, Einstein's theories of relativity are only half of the ingredients for the thought experiment. The rest comes from another theory: quantum mechanics. According to quantum mechanics, the prevailing theory of how our universe works, every object should be able to be superimposed – even a whole planet.
Overlay is a quantum concept in which a particle or system occurs Case a planet – at the same time is in two distinctly different physical states. This was best explained by Schödingers cat, another thought experiment. Imagine a particle in overlay like a spinning coin: it's both head and number until it lands.
If the planet were placed next to one of the spaceships in a superposition state, the researchers claim that these quantum effects would logically also extend over time. Zychs explanation goes on:
There would be a new way in which the sequence of events could unfold, with none of the events being the first or the second – but in a true quantum state, both the first and the second is.
No matter who fired first, the quantum state of the planet would have a bigger impact on how the events developed – I guess both spaceships explode and then the lasers go out a few seconds later like sad space confetti.
That sounds impossible, but as every Douglas Adams fan knows, time travel is unlikely. And we can work with that. According to Zych, this trippy thought experiment (and the mathematics it supports) has the potential to directly influence the development of tomorrow's quantum computers. She told Science Daily :
We are currently working on quantum computers, which – quite simply – could effectively jump through time to perform their operations more efficiently than devices that work in fixed time order, as we do knows it in our "normal" world.
Classic computers need to fix things. If, then go to; That is how they work. Quantum computers can theoretically only "get" the answer. It's a bit more complex than that, but in essence, physicists write the rules of the 2019 universe in real time and will do so for the imaginable future.
You can read all the research here.