Wednesday, October 06, 2010
Message in a Bottle
I have been fascinated by quantum computers for years, not for secure communications or radically fast number crunching via true parallel processing, but rather by the potential of capturing reality in ways unimagined by any other system known to man. Key to making this happen is the ability to stop, store and manipulate light (i.e. quantum memory) in real time, something thought not possible to achieve, in a practical sense, until now.
"Light entering the crystal is slowed all the way to a stop, where it remains until we let it go again," explains lead researcher Morgan Hedges. "When we do let it go, we get out essentially everything that went in as a three-dimensional hologram, accurate right down to the last photon.
While reading this, one sees how John Wheeler's brilliant concept of It From Bit applies with the notion information may be the driving engine of existence. (Boltzmann deserves mention here as well.)
What is reality, then? Wheeler answers his own question with the koanlike phrase "it from bit." Wheeler explains the phrase as follows: "Every 'it'—every particle, every field of force, even the spacetime continuum itself—derives its function, its meaning, its very existence entirely—even if in some contexts indirectly—from the apparatus-elicited answers to yes-or-no questions, binary choices, bits."
When added to Seth Lloyd's interpretation, the conversation about reality and quantum computing becomes rather interesting.
"And what is the entire universe computing, ultimately? “Its own dynamical evolution,” he says. “As the computation proceeds, reality unfolds."
IMHO, man is getting closer to building a reality engine theoretically able to recreate existence in ways akin to the Matrix, a most exciting yet unsettling prospect when viewed against a world filled with violence, intolerance, ignorance and greed.
As for the Message in a Bottle, bit, read below to see if the song applies. To me, in a strange way, it does.
Dr Sellars' team has previously performed an experiment that 'stopped' light in a crystal for over a second, more than 1,000 times longer than was previously possible. He said that the team is now bringing together systems that combine the high efficiency with storage times of hours.
Addendum: The computing part of QC took a big step as solid state error correction now works as seen by research being done at Yale and USCB.
"Light entering the crystal is slowed all the way to a stop, where it In this new study, the team was able to achieve an entangled state by placing the three qubits in a superposition of two possibilities -- all three were either in the 0 state or the 1 state. They were able to attain this entangled state 88 percent of the time.
With the particular entangled state the team achieved, they also demonstrated for the first time the encoding of quantum information from a single qubit into three qubits using a so-called repetition code. "This is the first step towards quantum error correction, which, as in a classical computer, uses the extra qubits to allow the computer to operate correctly even in the presence of occasional errors," Girvin said.