Thursday, 24 March 2016

superposition or quantum of solace

Researchers in Finland may have just triggered a breakthrough in quantum-computing by harnessing  entanglement, the counter-intuitive phenomenon when pairs of atoms or photons become linked and even when separated by light-years act as one unit, a change to one instantaneously imparted to the other (the origin of the sceptical phrase “action at a distance”). As long as the pairs remain bonded, the entangled system can perform all possible permutations that that particular matrix can investigate at once, as opposed to the sequential fashion that traditional computers use—which is always finite no matter how much computational power is in the circuits.
Access to every solution simultaneously would of course be a boon and bane one and the same, since encryption would wither immediately and though perfectly predictive modelling would be possible, I would imagine that things could escalate very quickly. We’ve been spared or denied these consequences so far (so called quantum-computers aren’t really quantum-computers) because, thanks to the Heisenberg principle of uncertainty, these systems fall apart when one measures them. Nothing says that atoms or photons have to be binary—either a zero or a one, however, and could have a whole spectrum of energy levels. And like the non-sequential approach to problem-solving that quantum computers could essay, particles can also skip gears (as it were, shifting from reverse to fourth-gear without going through the intervening stages) and receiving the output by this method does not cause the entangled system to collapse.