“The Cat is Alive!”

…to quote Penny from The Big Bang Theory (“The Tangerine Factor” episode). Scientists at University of California Berkeley did it, by employing very fine and very low key quantum observations, they were able to actually watch activity in such a manner without disrupting the state of affairs taking pace during their observations. As reported:

“By making constant but weak measurements of a quantum system, physicists have managed to probe a delicate quantum state without destroying it – the equivalent of taking a peek at Schrodinger’s metaphorical cat without killing it. The result should make it easier to handle systems such as quantum computers that exploit the exotic properties of the quantum world.” 

Still, it’s not a perfect solution:

Even though the measurement was gentle enough not to destroy the quantum superposition, the measurement did randomly change the oscillation rate. This couldn’t be predicted, but the team was able to make the measurement very quickly, allowing the researchers to inject an equal but opposite change into the system that returned the qubit’s frequency to the value it would have had if it had not been measured at all. This feedback is similar to what happens in a pacemaker: if the system drifts too far from the desired state, whether that’s a steady heartbeat or a superposition of ones and zeros, you can nudge it back towards where it should be.”

Pretty cool, eh? So what does this mean to us watching TV at home?

This demonstration shows we are almost there, in terms of being able to implement quantum error controls,” Vijay (lead scientist on this University of California Berkeley project) says. Such controls could be used to prolong the superpositions of qubits in quantum computing, he says, by automatically nudging qubits that were about to collapse. The result is not perfect, points out Howard Wiseman of Griffith University in Brisbane, Australia, in an article accompanying the team’s paper. “But compared with the no-feedback result of complete unpredictability within several microseconds, the observed stabilization of the qubit’s cycling is a big step forward in the feedback control of an individual qubit.”

So with some time and effort, the notion of mass-produced quantum computers is becoming more and more a reality.

And just what is a quantum computer?

The computers we use utilize bits or bytes; a quantum computer would utilize qubits , and thus the processing power potential of a quantum computer would be tremendously more than a regular computer using a classic processor interface.  Kind of like taking your Great grandfather’s model T Ford and comparing it to, say a Bugatti Veyron: yeah, they’re both motorized vehicles using four wheels, but when you get behind the wheel, the difference is, well, bigger, faster and far more effective. Naturally, the applications are tremendous: wherever you have a computer processor now, it may very well be outdated by this new technology offering far superior processing speed and abilities.

In an earlier post, I spoke of Kurzweil’s notion of singularity: AI (Artificial Intelligence) becoming not only a reality, but also surpassing human intelligence by the year 2029.

We could be witnessing the very foundation of that singularity taking place,…

Click here to learn more about this development: http://www.3quarksdaily.com/3quarksdaily/2012/10/quantum-measurements-leave-schr%C3%B6dingers-cat-alive.html


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