Monday, 27 May, 2019

Scientists claim to have 'reversed time' with quantum computer

Electronics for use in a quantum computer Move over Doctor Who: Physicists create a ‘time machine’
Elijah Vega | 14 March, 2019, 19:20

Scientists at the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology in collaboration with the scientists from the USA and Switzerland have returned the state of a quantum computer a fraction of a second into the past.

Most laws of physics do not make a distinction between the past and future, but the scientists claim that their experiment, which involved "reversing time", showed that these laws can be violated. "That law is closely related to the notion of the arrow of time that posits the one-way direction of time from the past to the future". "The most recent paper approaches the same problem from a third angle: We have artificially created a state that evolves in a direction opposite to that of the thermodynamic arrow of time". The region of space containing the electron quickly expands. "This is practically equivalent to the increasing disorder in a large scale system, for example, a billiard table-because of the second law of thermodynamics". If two identical round objects collide one to another, an equation can describe the event exactly the same even if it is played backward, but it is tough for the human mind to imagine an infused tea flowing back into the tea bag, or a volcano erupting in reverse.

"However, Schrödinger's equation is reversible", said Valerii Vinokur, a researcher at the Argonne National Laboratory in the United States.

An electron's physical position is defined by uncertainty, meaning that instead of being a concrete "point" it is a fuzzy state of probabilities smeared across a region of space.

To an outside observer, it looks as if time is running backwards.

Scientists then set out to ascertain the likelihood to observe an electron "smeared out" over a small amount of a second immediately localizing into its recent past. It says more formally that any system can only move from more to less ordered, and that the chaos or disorder of a system - its entropy - can never decrease.

As Scott Aaronson, director of the Quantum Information Center at the University of Texas at Austin, says, "if you're simulating a time-reversible process on your computer, then you can "reverse the direction of time" by simply reversing the direction of your simulation". For stage four, the evolution program is relaunched from the second stage, causing the qubits to reverse time and revert to their earlier state.

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It may not quite be the Tardis, but scientists have built what could loosely be described as a time machine. A quantum bit is the "fundamental unit of information in a quantum computer, capable of existing in two states, 0 and 1, at the same time or at a different time", according to Dictionary.com. During the second stage, order is lost.

Here's how it works: Following the launch of the evolution program, the particles would move into a changing pattern of zeros and ones.

The scientists had an 85 percent success rate and only in the case of a two-qubit quantum computer. Following this scattering, a program would alter the computer's state, enabling it to go backwards to its original state. This state meant that the qubits were rewound back in its original starting pattern.

However, the success rate plunged to 50 percent when three qubits were present.

Researchers suggest their findings - published this week in the journal Scientific Reports - could be used to improve the precision of quantum devices.

Interestingly, the time reversal algorithm itself could prove useful for making quantum computers more precise.

"Our algorithm could be updated and used to test programs written for quantum computers and eliminate noise and errors", Lebedev said.

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