For the first time, scientists have created a quantum computing experiment to study the dynamics of wormholes, i.e. shortcuts in spacetime that could circumvent the cosmic speed limits of relativity .
Wormholes have traditionally been a part of science fiction, ranging from Jodie Foster’s mad dash to Contact the twists and turns of the plot over time Interstellar. But the researchers behind the experiment, reported in the December 1 issue of the journal Naturehope their work will help physicists study the phenomenon for real.
“We have found a quantum system that exhibits the key properties of a gravitational wormhole, but is small enough to be implemented on today’s quantum hardware,” said Caltech physicist Maria Spiropulu. , in a press release. Spiropulu, the Nature lead author of the paper, is the principal investigator of a federally funded research program known as Quantum Communication Channels for Fundamental Physics.
Don’t pack your bags for Alpha Centauri just yet: this wormhole simulation is nothing more than a simulation, analogous to a computer-generated black hole or supernova.
And physicists still don’t see any conditions under which a traversable wormhole could actually be created. Someone should create negative energy first.
Columbia theoretical physicist Peter Woit warned against doing too much about research.
“The claim that ‘physicists create a wormhole’ is pure bullshit, with the huge campaign to mislead the public about it, a disgrace, very unnecessary for the credibility of the research in physics in particular and science in general,” he wrote on his blog, which is not even called fake.
The main objective of the research was to shed light on a concept known as quantum gravity, which seeks to unify the theories of general relativity and quantum mechanics.
These two theories have done a great job of explaining how gravity works and how the subatomic world is structured, respectively, but they don’t mesh well with each other.
One of the big questions is whether wormhole teleportation could follow the principles that underlie quantum entanglement.
This quantum phenomenon is better understood, and has even been demonstrated in the real world, through Nobel Prize-winning research: it’s about connecting subatomic particles or other quantum systems in a way that allows this which Albert Einstein called “frightening action at a distance”. “
Spiropulu and his colleagues, including lead authors Daniel Jafferis and Alexander Zlokapa, have created a computer model that applies the physics of quantum entanglement to wormhole dynamics.
Their program was based on a theoretical framework known as the Sachdev-Ye-Kitaev, or SYK, model.
The big challenge was that the program had to be run on a quantum computer. Google’s Sycamore quantum processing chip was just powerful enough to take on the task, with the help of conventional machine learning tools.
“We employed [machine] learn techniques to find and prepare a simple SYK-like quantum system that could be encoded in current quantum architectures and preserve gravitational properties,” Spiropulu said.
“In other words, we simplified the microscopic description of the SYK quantum system and studied the resulting effective model that we found on the quantum processor.”
The researchers inserted a quantum bit, or qubit, of encoded information into one of the two entangled systems, then watched the information emerge from the other system. From their point of view, it was as if the qubit passed between black holes through a wormhole.
“It took a long time to get to the results, and we were surprised by the result,” said Caltech researcher Samantha Davis, one of the study’s co-authors.
The team found that the wormhole simulation allowed information to flow from system to system when the computerized equivalent of negative energy was applied, but not when positive energy was applied instead. . This matches what theorists would expect from a real-world wormhole.
As quantum circuits become more complex, researchers aim to perform more faithful simulations of wormhole behavior, which could lead to new twists in fundamental theories.
“The relationship between quantum entanglement, spacetime and quantum gravity is one of the most important questions in fundamental physics and an active area of theoretical research,” Spiropulu said.
“We are excited to take this small step towards testing these ideas on quantum hardware and we will continue.”
Besides Jafferis, Zlokapa, Spiropulu and Davis, the authors of Nature article, titled “Traversable Wormhole Dynamics on a Quantum Processor”, include Joseph Lykken, David Kolchmeyer, Nikolai Lauk and Hartmut Neven.
This article was originally published by Universe Today. Read the original article.
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