Physicists Create ‘the Smallest, Crummiest Wormhole You Can Imagine’

“We turn uncertainty into an ally and embrace it,” Dr. Spiropulu said.

To reach their full potential, quantum computers will need thousands of active qubits and an additional million “error correcting” qubits. Google hopes to achieve such a goal by the end of the decade, according to Hartmut Neven, the head of the company’s Quantum Artificial Intelligence lab in Venice, California, who is also on Dr. Spiropulu’s team.

Caltech physicist and Nobel laureate Richard Feynman once predicted that the ultimate use of this quantum energy could be to study quantum physics, as in the wormhole experiment.

“I am delighted to see that researchers were able to fulfill Feynman’s dream,” said Dr. Neven.

The wormhole experiment was performed on Google’s version of the Sycamore 2 computer, which has 72 qubits. Of these, the team used only nine to limit the amount of interference and noise in the system. Two reference qubits serve as inputs and outputs in the experiment.

The other seven qubits hold two copies of the code that describes the “discrete” version of an already simple model of the three-dimensional universe called SYK, named after its three creators: Subir Sachdev of Harvard, Jinwu Ye of Mississippi State University and Alexei Kitayev of Caltech. Both SYK models are packed into the same seven qubits. In the experiment, these SYK systems play the role of two black holes, one by shuffling the message into nonsense — the quantum equivalent of swallowing it — and then the other by popping it.

“We put in a qubit,” said Dr. Lykken, referring to the input message – the quantum analog of a sequence of 1s and 0s. This qubit interacted with the first copy of the SYK qubit. ; its meaning was jumbled to random noise and it disappeared.

Then, in the tick of the quantum clock, the two SYK systems are connected, and a negative energy shock travels from the first to the second, rapidly opening up the second.

The signal then reappears in its original unrearranged form – in the ninth and final qubit, attached to the second SYK system, representing the other end of the wormhole.


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