Quantum Mechanics Used to Study Possible Futures

  • Author: Marek Czykanski
  • Published: 19 April 2019
  • Copyright: Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim
  • Source / Publisher: Nature Communications/Springer Nature Limited
thumbnail image: Quantum Mechanics Used to Study Possible Futures

The future confronts us with a vast number of possibilities. These possibilities grow exponentially when going further into the future. For instance, if we have 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.

Farzad Ghafari, Geoff Pryde, Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia, Mile Gu, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, and colleagues have constructed a prototype quantum device that can simulate these possible futures in a quantum superposition. This is similar to Schrödinger's famous cat, which exists in a superposition of its alive and dead states. The team developed a photonic quantum information processor, in which the potential future outcomes of a decision process are represented by the locations of photons. The device is built using an experimental laser setup, which generates the required photons.

The state of the quantum device is a superposition of multiple potential futures, weighted by their probability of occurrence. The team used the machine to measure how much our bias towards a specific choice in the present impacts the future. By interfering the superpositions with each other, the researchers can compare the futures without looking at each possible future individually.

Many current artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms learn by seeing how small changes in their behavior can lead to different outcomes. According to the researchers, their technique could enable quantum enhanced AIs to learn the effect of their actions much more efficiently. Currently, the prototype simulates at most 16 futures simultaneously. However, the underlying quantum algorithm can in principle scale without bound.


Article Views: 915

Sign in Area

Please sign in below

Additional Sign In options

Please note that to comment on an article you must be registered and logged in.
Registration is for free, you may already be registered to receive, e.g., the newsletter. When you register on this website, please ensure you view our terms and conditions. All comments are subject to moderation.

Article Comments - To add a comment please sign in

Bookmark and Share

If you would like to reuse any content, in print or online, from ChemistryViews.org, please contact us first for permission. more


ChemistryViews.org on Facebook

ChemistryViews.org on Twitter ChemistryViews.org on YouTube ChemistryViews.org on LinkedIn Sign up for our free newsletter

A product of ChemPubSoc Europe (16 European Chemical Societies)and Wiley-VCH