Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Singapore and Australian scientists build a machine to see all possible futures

15.04.2019

In the 2018 movie Infinity War, a scene featured Dr. Strange looking into 14 million possible futures to search for a single timeline where the heroes would be victorious. Perhaps he would have had an easier time with help from a quantum computer. A team of researchers from Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore) and Griffith University in Australia have constructed a prototype quantum device that can generate all possible futures in a simultaneous quantum superposition.

"When we think about the future, we are confronted by a vast array of possibilities," explains Assistant Professor Mile Gu of NTU Singapore, who led development of the quantum algorithm that underpins the prototype "These possibilities grow exponentially as we go deeper into the future. For instance, even if we have only two possibilities to choose from each minute, in less than half an hour there are 14 million possible futures. In less than a day, the number exceeds the number of atoms in the universe."


Unlike classical particles, quantum particles can travel in a quantum superposition of different directions. Mile Gu, together with researchers from Griffith harnessed this phenomena to design quantum devices that can generate a quantum superposition of all possible futures.

Credit: NTU, Singapore

What he and his research group realised, however, was that a quantum computer can examine all possible futures by placing them in a quantum superposition - similar to Schrödinger's famous cat that is simultaneously alive and dead.

To realise this scheme, they joined forces with the experimental group led by Professor Geoff Pryde at Griffith University. Together, the team implemented a specially devised photonic quantum information processor in which the potential future outcomes of a decision process are represented by the locations of photons - quantum particles of light. They then demonstrated that the state of the quantum device was a superposition of multiple potential futures, weighted by their probability of occurrence.

"The functioning of this device is inspired by the Nobel Laureate Richard Feynman," says Dr Jayne Thompson, a member of the Singapore team. "When Feynman started studying quantum physics, he realized that when a particle travels from point A to point B, it does not necessarily follow a single path. Instead, it simultaneously transverses all possible paths connecting the points. Our work extends this phenomenon and harnesses it for modelling statistical futures."

The machine has already demonstrated one application - measuring how much our bias towards a specific choice in the present impacts the future. "Our approach is to synthesise a quantum superposition of all possible futures for each bias." explains Farzad Ghafari, a member of the experimental team, "By interfering these superpositions with each other, we can completely avoid looking at each possible future individually. In fact, many current artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms learn by seeing how small changes in their behaviour can lead to different future outcomes, so our techniques may enable quantum enhanced AIs to learn the effect of their actions much more efficiently."

The team notes while their present prototype simulates at most 16 futures simultaneously, the underlying quantum algorithm can in principle scale without bound. "This is what makes the field so exciting," says Pryde. "It is very much reminiscent of classical computers in the 1960s. Just as few could imagine the many uses of classical computers in the 1960s, we are still very much in the dark about what quantum computers can do. Each discovery of a new application provides further impetus for their technological development."

Media Contact

Mohamed Fadly
mfadly@ntu.edu.sg
656-513-8644

https://cos.ntu.edu.sg 

Mohamed Fadly | EurekAlert!

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht The world’s lightest mirror
16.07.2020 | Max-Planck-Institut für Quantenoptik

nachricht Tiny bubbles make a quantum leap
15.07.2020 | Columbia University School of Engineering and Applied Science

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Atmospheric and Earth System Research With Special Halo Aircraft to Continue

From 2022, the atmospheric and earth system research campaigns conducted using the “High Altitude and Long Range Research Aircraft” HALO will receive another six years of funding from the German Research Foundation (DFG): the DFG has granted an extension to the Infrastructure Priority Programme 1294 for the scientific use of HALO for the period from 2022 until 2027. The programme on atmospheric and earth system research, which the DFG has been funding since 2007, is coordinated by Professor Manfred Wendisch from Leipzig University together with Professor Joachim Curtius from the Goethe University Frankfurt.

The total budget for the third phase of HALO SPP 1294 is based on the volume from previous years, with approximately 12 million euros for scientific proposals...

Im Focus: A new path for electron optics in solid-state systems

A novel mechanism for electron optics in two-dimensional solid-state systems opens up a route to engineering quantum-optical phenomena in a variety of materials

Electrons can interfere in the same manner as water, acoustical or light waves do. When exploited in solid-state materials, such effects promise novel...

Im Focus: Electron cryo-microscopy: Using inexpensive technology to produce high-resolution images

Biochemists at Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (MLU) have used a standard electron cryo-microscope to achieve surprisingly good images that are on par with those taken by far more sophisticated equipment. They have succeeded in determining the structure of ferritin almost at the atomic level. Their results were published in the journal "PLOS ONE".

Electron cryo-microscopy has become increasingly important in recent years, especially in shedding light on protein structures. The developers of the new...

Im Focus: The spin state story: Observation of the quantum spin liquid state in novel material

New insight into the spin behavior in an exotic state of matter puts us closer to next-generation spintronic devices

Aside from the deep understanding of the natural world that quantum physics theory offers, scientists worldwide are working tirelessly to bring forth a...

Im Focus: Excitation of robust materials

Kiel physics team observed extremely fast electronic changes in real time in a special material class

In physics, they are currently the subject of intensive research; in electronics, they could enable completely new functions. So-called topological materials...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Contact Tracing Apps against COVID-19: German National Academy Leopoldina hosts international virtual panel discussion

07.07.2020 | Event News

International conference QuApps shows status quo of quantum technology

02.07.2020 | Event News

Dresden Nexus Conference 2020: Same Time, Virtual Format, Registration Opened

19.05.2020 | Event News

 
Latest News

Cutting-Edge Research to Advance Development of Next-Generation Satellite-Terrestrial Networks

16.07.2020 | Information Technology

Fraunhofer ISE Develops with Partners a Novel High-Throughput System for Functional Printing

16.07.2020 | Machine Engineering

Blueprint of Oxytocin Receptor Facilitates Development of New Autism Drugs

16.07.2020 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>