Published: Sat, March 16, 2019
Research | By Raquel Erickson

Scientists reverse time on quantum computer

Scientists reverse time on quantum computer

But scientists wanted to see if it is possible for time to involuntarily invert, and they observed a single electron in empty space stating that the reverse evolution of the electron can happen only once.

In their report, the researchers described a scenario in which someone has recorded a cue ball breaking the pyramid and the billiard balls scattering in all directions.

They note that most physics laws don't make any distinctions between the future and the past.

That's in direct violation of the second law of thermodynamics, which governs how order progresses to chaos.

"Suppose the electron is localized when we begin observing it".

"The laws of quantum mechanics prevent us from knowing it with absolute precision, but we can outline a small region where the electron is localised."The discovery contradicts the laws of physics, which suggests that time is linear and can only travel in one direction - forward". This doesn't mean we'll be visiting with dinosaurs or Napoleon any time soon, but for physicists, the idea that time can run backward at all is still a pretty big deal. "In spite of the fact that it sees no difference amongst the future and the past, the region of space containing the electron will spread out all around rapidly".

Valerii Vinokur, a co-author of the paper, from the Argonne National Laboratory, U.S. said, "However, Schrödinger's equation is reversible". Following this scattering, a program would alter the computer's state, enabling it to go backwards to its original state.

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.


The experiment could have a practical application in the development of quantum computers, the scientists said.

The breakthrough happened using a quantum computer, which manipulates information with "qubits" which can either be one, or zero, or both.

The experiment included setting each qubit's state to what is believed to be zero.

Stage 2: Degradation. The order is lost.

Another program then modified the state of the quantum computer in such a way that it evolved "backwards", from chaos to order.

An analogy would be giving the pool table such a perfectly calculated kick that the balls roll back into an orderly pyramid. Next, the evolution pattern would be kickstarted from the second state again and rewind the qubits to their original state and the past.

Since the algorithm was able to bring the two qubits back to their initial state from just a few instances ago, it can be said that they were successful in reversing time in a controlled quantum state. "Our algorithm could be updated and used to test programs written for quantum computers and eliminate noise and errors". However, the introduction of a third qubit caused more errors to occur - the success rate dropped to approximately 50%.

With time, scientists and researchers are hoping to use better devices to reduce discrepancies in results.

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