Quantum computers are used to model wormholes

Physicists, mathematicians, astronomers, and even filmmakers have long been fascinated by the concept of the wormhole: an unpredictable and often volatile phenomenon believed to create tunnels through space-time (and shortcuts between two distant locations). Another theory argues that if you connect two black holes correctly, you can create a wormhole.

Studying wormholes is like putting together an incomplete puzzle without knowing what the final picture will look like. You can roughly guess what should go into the blanks from the completed images around it, but you can’t know for sure. This is because there is no conclusive proof yet that wormholes are actually there. However, some solutions to fundamental equations and theories in physics suggest that such a being exists.

Researchers from Caltech, Harvard, MIT, Fermilab and Google created a small “wormhole” effect between two quantum systems sitting on the same processor to understand the properties of this cosmic ghost based on the results so far. What’s more, the team was able to send a signal through it.

By quantitythis puts the Caltech-Google team ahead of an IBM-Quantinuum team that is also trying to set up wormhole teleportation.

While what they have created is unfortunately not a real crack in the fabric of space-time, the system mimics the known dynamics of wormholes. In terms of features that physicists usually consider, such as positive or negative energy, gravity, and particle behavior, computer simulation effectively looks and works like a tiny wormhole. This model, the team said at a press conference, is a way to study the fundamental problems of the universe in a lab setting. An article about this system was published in the journal this week. Nature.

“We found a quantum system that exhibits the fundamental properties of a gravitational wormhole, but is small enough to apply to today’s quantum hardware,” Maria Spiropulu, professor of physics at Caltech, said in a press release. “This work marks a step towards a larger program for testing the physics of quantum gravity using a quantum computer.”

[Related: Chicago now has a 124-mile quantum network. This is what it’s for.]

Quantum gravity is a set of theories that postulate how the rules governing gravity (explaining how matter and energy behave) and quantum mechanics (explaining how atoms and particles behave) fit together. Researchers do not yet have the exact equation to describe quantum gravity in our universe.

Although scientists have pondered the relationship between gravity and wormholes for nearly 100 years, it wasn’t until 2013 that entanglement (a quantum physics phenomenon) was thought to affect the connection. And in 2017, another group of scientists suggested that traversable wormholes work like a kind of quantum teleportation (where information is transported through space using entanglement principles).

In the latest experiment run on just 9 qubits (the quantum equivalent of binary bits in classical computing) on ​​Google’s Sycamore quantum processor, the team used machine learning to build a simplified version of the wormhole system that could be “coded into the existing system.” quantum architectures and it would preserve these gravitational properties,” Spiropulu explained. During the experiment they showed that information (in the form of qubits) could be sent through one system and reappeared in the other system in the correct order; it was a wormhole-like behavior.

[Related: In photos: Journey to the center of a quantum computer]

So how do researchers begin to construct a small universe in a box with its own special rules and geometry? According to Google, a special type of correspondence (technically known as AdS/CFT) between different physical theories has allowed scientists to construct a hologram-like universe. the researchers wrote in a blog post. “This allows quantum processors to work directly with qubits while providing insights into the physics of space-time. By carefully defining the parameters of a quantum computer to emulate a particular model, we can look at black holes, or even go further, look at two interconnected black holes – it’s a It’s a configuration known as a wormhole.”

The researchers used machine learning to find the perfect quantum system that would preserve some fundamental gravitational properties and preserve the energy dynamics they wanted the model to depict. They also needed to simulate particles called fermions.

At the press conference, the team noted that there is strong evidence that our universe operates by similar rules to the hologram universe observed on a quantum chip. In their Google blog article, the researchers wrote: “Gravity is just one example of quantum computers’ unique ability to probe complex physical theories: it can offer insights into quantum processors, time crystals, quantum chaos, and chemistry.”

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