So … What If Aliens’ Quantum Computers Explain Dark Energy?

So … What If Aliens’ Quantum Computers Explain Dark Energy?

Let’s assume that, just like us, plenty of alien civilizations will want the best possible computers for some purpose or other.That’s one reason we guess that discerning aliens would seek the power of quantum computers to run their virtual worlds.

Quantum Mischief Rewrites the Laws of Cause and Effect

Quantum Mischief Rewrites the Laws of Cause and Effect

That’s changing as physicists contemplate the new quantum switch experiments, as well as related thought experiments in which Alice and Bob face causal indefiniteness created by the quantum nature of gravity.Lucien Hardy originated the study of indefinite causality as a route to understanding the quantum nature of gravity.

Imaginary Numbers May Be Essential for Describing Reality

Imaginary Numbers May Be Essential for Describing Reality

Provided that quantum mechanics is correct—an assumption few would quibble with—the team’s argument essentially guarantees that complex numbers are an unavoidable part of our description of the physical universe.“These complex numbers, usually they’re just a convenient tool, but here it turns out that they really have some physical meaning,” said Tamás Vértesi, a physicist at the Institute for Nuclear Research at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences who, years ago, argued the opposite.

TV Characters Don’t Have Text History. This Is Not OK

TV Characters Don’t Have Text History. This Is Not OK

Emily, looking impossibly chic outside a real, bonafide café where people are actually eating croissants, gets a text from Doug, her brozo boyfriend back in Chicago.

Microsoft’s Big Win in Quantum Computing Was an ‘Error’ After All

Microsoft’s Big Win in Quantum Computing Was an ‘Error’ After All

In March 2018, Dutch physicist and Microsoft employee Leo Kouwenhoven published headline-grabbing new evidence that he had observed an elusive particle called a Majorana fermion.

Did QuantumScape Just Solve a 40-Year-Old Battery Problem?

Did QuantumScape Just Solve a 40-Year-Old Battery Problem?

Like the liquid electrolyte that sits between the electrodes in a conventional cell, its main function is to ferry lithium ions from one terminal to the other when the battery charges and discharges.

China Stakes Its Claim to Quantum Supremacy

China Stakes Its Claim to Quantum Supremacy

A system called Jiuzhang produced results in minutes calculated to take more than 2 billion years of effort by the world’s third-most-powerful supercomputer.

The Black Hole Information Paradox Comes to an End

The Black Hole Information Paradox Comes to an End

Hawking and others sought to describe matter in and around black holes using quantum theory, but they continued to describe gravity using Einstein’s classical theory—a hybrid approach that physicists call “semiclassical.” Although the approach predicted new effects at the perimeter of the hole, the interior remained strictly sealed off.

Quantum Computing Is Bigger Than Donald Trump

Quantum Computing Is Bigger Than Donald Trump

But what the hearing was really about was our continuing inability to figure out what to do with a technological infrastructure that gives every single person on the planet the ability to broadcast their thoughts, whether illuminating or poisonous.

At Last, Alchemy Arrives in a Burst of Light—From Lasers

At Last, Alchemy Arrives in a Burst of Light—From Lasers

However, to actually control such movements, in the early 1990s Herschel Rabitz, a chemist at Princeton University, and his co-workers pointed out that one would need shaped pulses: complex waveforms that might guide molecular behavior along particular paths.

Mathematical ‘Hocus-Pocus’ Saved Particle Physics

Mathematical ‘Hocus-Pocus’ Saved Particle Physics

To theorists puzzling over the physical meaning of renormalization, QED hinted that the electron had two charges: a theoretical charge, which was infinite, and the measured charge, which was not.

Looking for Gravitons? Check for the ‘Buzz’

Looking for Gravitons? Check for the ‘Buzz’

Dyson’s 2013 calculation convinced many people that gravitational wave detectors were, at best, impractical probes for learning about quantum gravity.“There’s a kind of default consensus that it’s a waste of time to think about quantum effects and gravitational radiation,” said Frank Wilczek, a Nobel Prize-winning physicist at MIT who was a coauthor with Parikh on the new paper.

‘Milestone’ Evidence for Anyons, a Third Kingdom of Particles

‘Milestone’ Evidence for Anyons, a Third Kingdom of Particles

Anyons, as they’re known, don’t behave like either fermions or bosons; instead, their behavior is somewhere in the middle.If the wave functions are identical, your quantum particles are bosons.

Google's Head of Quantum Computing Hardware Resigns

Google's Head of Quantum Computing Hardware Resigns

In a blog post, Pichai said the milestone affirmed his belief that quantum computers might one day tackle problems like climate change , and name-checked John Martinis, who had established Google’s quantum hardware group in 2014.Here’s what Pichai didn’t mention: Soon after the team had first got its quantum supremacy experiment working a few months earlier, Martinis says, he had been reassigned from a leadership position to an advisory one.

A Computer Science Proof Holds Answers for Math and Physics

A Computer Science Proof Holds Answers for Math and Physics

The computer scientists Henry Yuen, Thomas Vidick, Zhengfeng Ji, Anand Natarajan and John Wright co-authored a proof about verifying answers to computational problems and ended up solving major problems in math and quantum physics.

Revolt! Scientists Say They're Sick of Quantum Computing's Hype

Revolt! Scientists Say They're Sick of Quantum Computing's Hype

While Bermejo-Vega thinks Google’s demonstration does provide scientific value of the technology’s viability, she emphasizes their success was “narrow.” In addition, all quantum computers, including Google’s, perform inconsistently because they are prone to errors that researchers don’t know how to correct.

A Scientist's Tiny Black Hole Brings the Cosmos Into the Lab

A Scientist's Tiny Black Hole Brings the Cosmos Into the Lab

Jeff Steinhauer makes tiny scale models of black holes in his lab out of rubidium atoms.In another experiment involving cold atom blobs, physicists at the University of Chicago simulated a different extreme environment—what it would be like for a person to accelerate to billions of g’s.

Microsoft Is Taking Quantum Computers to the Cloud

Microsoft Is Taking Quantum Computers to the Cloud

Microsoft’s model is more like the existing computing industry, where cloud providers allow customers to choose processors from companies such as Intel and AMD, says William Hurley, CEO of startup Strangeworks, which offers a service for programmers to build and collaborate with quantum computing tools from IBM, Google, and others.

Quantum Computing Is Here! But Also Not Really

Quantum Computing Is Here! But Also Not Really

“We compare it to a Sputnik moment,” Hartmut Neven, the executive who started Google’s quantum program in 2006, told reporters, wearing a silvery jacket and boots apt for the space analogy.

IBM Says Google’s Quantum Leap Was a Quantum Flop

IBM Says Google’s Quantum Leap Was a Quantum Flop

In 2017, after the company said it was closing in on the milestone, IBM researchers published results that appeared to move the goalposts.Soon, researchers from Chinese ecommerce company Alibaba, which has its own quantum computing program, released analysis claiming that the device could not do what Google said.

WIRED25: Stories of People Who Are Racing to Save Us

WIRED25: Stories of People Who Are Racing to Save Us

For years, even before the team’s creation, Galperin and fellow EFF researcher Cooper Quintin investigated a hacking operation that planted spyware on the computers of journalists and opposition figures in Kazakhstan.

Why I Coined the Term ‘Quantum Supremacy’

Why I Coined the Term ‘Quantum Supremacy’

They used a device with 53 qubits (the quantum analogues of a classical computer’s bits), and they report that it took just minutes to perform quantum computations that would take today’s most powerful supercomputers thousands of years.

Even Huge Molecules Follow the Quantum World's Bizarre Rules

Even Huge Molecules Follow the Quantum World's Bizarre Rules

Physicists have observed atoms, electrons, and other minutiae transitioning between wave-like and particle-like states for decades.It’s an extremely difficult experiment to pull off, he says, because quantum objects are delicate, transitioning suddenly from their wavelike state to their particle-like one via interactions with their environment.

The Surprisingly Cozy Truths of Sleeping in Space

The Surprisingly Cozy Truths of Sleeping in Space

It’s a far cry from the spacious beds we have on Earth, but it’s still better than the shared sleeping compartment on the space shuttle, which Mike Massimino , a former NASA astronaut, describes as “a big slumber party.” The trick, Massimino says, was to remember to strap your sleeping bag to the wall so your body wouldn’t drift around during the night.

Quantum Darwinism Could Explain What Makes Reality Real

Quantum Darwinism Could Explain What Makes Reality Real

One of the most remarkable ideas in this theoretical framework is that the definite properties of objects that we associate with classical physics—position and speed, say—are selected from a menu of quantum possibilities in a process loosely analogous to natural selection in evolution: The properties that survive are in some sense the “fittest.” As in natural selection, the survivors are those that make the most copies of themselves.

Why Big Banks Could Soon Jump on the Quantum Bandwagon

Why Big Banks Could Soon Jump on the Quantum Bandwagon

The experiment was too simplistic to be useful for banks, but it’s a promising proof of concept; once bigger and smoother-running quantum computers are available, the researchers say, they hope to execute the algorithm faster than conventional machines.

Quantum Computers Could Be True Randomness Generators

Quantum Computers Could Be True Randomness Generators

In our case, to randomly output a 50-bit string, you can build a quantum circuit that puts 50 qubits, taken together, into a superposition of states that captures the distribution you’d like to re-create.

Noisy Quantum Computers Could Be Good for Chemistry Problems

Noisy Quantum Computers Could Be Good for Chemistry Problems

However, for chemistry simulations, the noise would be representative of the physical environment in which both the chemical system (e.g., a molecule) and the quantum device exist.

Inside the High-Stakes Race to Make Quantum Computers Work

Inside the High-Stakes Race to Make Quantum Computers Work

Federico Carminati, a physicist at CERN, admits that today’s quantum computers wouldn't give researchers anything more than classical machines, but, undeterred, he’s started tinkering with IBM’s prototype quantum device via the cloud while waiting for the technology to mature.

Quantum Physics Could Protect the Grid From Hackers—Maybe

Quantum Physics Could Protect the Grid From Hackers—Maybe

“It’s like working on a car with its engine running.” Sungjin Kim/Getty Images Cybersecurity experts have sounded the alarm for years: Hackers are ogling the U.S. power grid. Peters’s group thinks that a utility company could use quantum-encrypted data to communicate with their hardware.