Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

A non-running computer produces fewer errors
New Scientist magazine (February 2006, page 21) | 23 Feb 2006 | Edcoil

Posted on 02/23/2006 8:50:48 AM PST by edcoil

Quantum computer works best switched off

Even for the crazy world of quantum mechanics, this one is twisted. A quantum computer program has produced an answer without actually running.

The idea behind the feat, first proposed in 1998, is to put a quantum computer into a “superposition”, a state in which it is both running and not running. It is as if you asked Schrödinger's cat to hit "Run".

With the right set-up, the theory suggested, the computer would sometimes get an answer out of the computer even though the program did not run. And now researchers from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have improved on the original design and built a non-running quantum computer that really works.


TOPICS: Business/Economy
KEYWORDS:
Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first 1-5051-76 next last
They send a photon into a system of mirrors and other optical devices, which included a set of components that run a simple database search by changing the properties of the photon.

The new design includes a quantum trick called the Zeno effect. Repeated measurements stop the photon from entering the actual program, but allow its quantum nature to flirt with the program's components - so it can become gradually altered even though it never actually passes through.

"It is very bizarre that you know your computer has not run but you also know what the answer is," says team member Onur Hosten.

This scheme could have an advantage over straightforward quantum computing. "A non-running computer produces fewer errors," says Hosten. That sentiment should have technophobes nodding enthusiastically.

Bizarre maybe but I think it's cool.

1 posted on 02/23/2006 8:50:50 AM PST by edcoil
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: edcoil

Think of how great this country would be if we could get Congress to not run!


2 posted on 02/23/2006 8:53:17 AM PST by D.P.Roberts
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: edcoil

I don't understand any of this. But, somehow, I'm glad I don't.


3 posted on 02/23/2006 8:53:24 AM PST by formercalifornian (One nation, under whatever popular fad comes to mind at the moment, indivisible...)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: edcoil

I don't understand this. Did the cat turn the computer on or not?

parsy, who demands the possibilty of an answer.


4 posted on 02/23/2006 8:53:50 AM PST by parsifal ("Knock and ye shall receive!" (The Bible, somewhere.))
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: edcoil

I don't know, the whole article went right over my head.


5 posted on 02/23/2006 8:55:17 AM PST by caver (Yes, I did crawl out of a hole in the ground.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: edcoil

Yes, that's true.

For completely B.S. definitions of the phrase 'switched off'.


6 posted on 02/23/2006 8:55:23 AM PST by Netheron
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: edcoil

In a constant state, but not really "not running". Big difference. "Not running" would be like pulling the power plug.


7 posted on 02/23/2006 8:55:39 AM PST by TommyDale
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: edcoil
I told my Mother that my brain is a quantum computer.

Did she believe me?

No!

Well, she might now.

8 posted on 02/23/2006 8:57:25 AM PST by jigsaw (David Gregory will be the last to know he's shooting his mouth off.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: TommyDale

"even though the program did not run"

Seems to have nothing to do with power off or power on - it has to do with a program running.


9 posted on 02/23/2006 8:57:32 AM PST by edcoil (Reality doesn't say much - doesn't need too)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: TommyDale

You are right on. It's running, just at a lower state. If we had better measurements, my guess is that we would say it is "running."


10 posted on 02/23/2006 8:57:52 AM PST by linear (Hitler didn't die - he just went to live in Mecca.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: edcoil
"A non-running computer produces fewer errors," says Hosten.

I think I'll try this at work. "If I don't work, I'll produce fewer errors." See how it goes over.

11 posted on 02/23/2006 8:58:57 AM PST by dirtboy (I'm fat, I sleep most of the winter and I saw my shadow yesterday. Does that make me a groundhog?)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: edcoil
A related thought problem: the Elitzur-Vaidman bomb-testing problem. If the only way to test a bomb is to trigger it and see whether it goes off, quantum mechanics can help you find which bombs would go off, without actually triggering them.
12 posted on 02/23/2006 9:00:42 AM PST by Physicist
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: edcoil

Must be a DU computer.........


13 posted on 02/23/2006 9:00:44 AM PST by Red Badger (And he will be a wild man; his hand will be against every man, and every man's hand against him...)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: edcoil

Bizzaro


14 posted on 02/23/2006 9:01:32 AM PST by stainlessbanner (Downhome Dixie)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: jigsaw

LOL!


15 posted on 02/23/2006 9:02:18 AM PST by Hannah Senesh
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

To: D.P.Roberts
"Think of how great this country would be if we could get Congress to not run!"
The trouble with your suggestion is, that while they would be both running and not running - simultaneously and in the same place - they would still demand [and receive with absolute certainty!- such is the quantum nature of the beast] their pay, perks and political contributions regardless. It might be a small price to pay, though.
16 posted on 02/23/2006 9:03:38 AM PST by GSlob
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: parsifal
I don't understand this. Did the cat turn the computer on or not?

Yes and no.

17 posted on 02/23/2006 9:04:17 AM PST by LexBaird ("I'm not questioning your patriotism, I'm answering your treason."--JennysCool)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: GSlob

And here is the reason why we need a "none of the above" line on all ballots.


18 posted on 02/23/2006 9:07:05 AM PST by Uriah_lost (http://www.wingercomics.com/d/20051205.html)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 16 | View Replies]

To: edcoil

I voted to turn the computer off before it was on

19 posted on 02/23/2006 9:07:11 AM PST by stainlessbanner (Downhome Dixie)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: stainlessbanner
This is obviously the brain child of "sum pastie faced yankee mechanic".
20 posted on 02/23/2006 9:07:44 AM PST by smug (Tanstaafl)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 14 | View Replies]

To: parsifal

The cat, actually, being dead, voted democrat.


21 posted on 02/23/2006 9:10:07 AM PST by Hegemony Cricket (Rage is the fuel that powers the islamic machine)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: edcoil
Quantum computer works best switched off

Now, if we could only use the 'running, not running' principle on our cars. Imagine being able to get from point A to point B with your automobile turned off. Imagine the energy savings!
22 posted on 02/23/2006 9:10:45 AM PST by adorno
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Physicist
If the (good) bombs exploded when hit with a single photon, wouldn't this experiment always detonate the good bombs? Isn't it basically the optical equivalent of throwing them against the wall?

I must be missing something.

23 posted on 02/23/2006 9:11:07 AM PST by IronJack
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 12 | View Replies]

To: parsifal

"I don't understand this. Did the cat turn the computer on or not?

parsy, who demands the possibilty of an answer."

I demand rigidly defined areas of doubt and uncertainty!

:)


24 posted on 02/23/2006 9:13:02 AM PST by No.6 (www.fourthfightergroup.com)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: edcoil

Quantum computing gives me a headache.


25 posted on 02/23/2006 9:13:18 AM PST by Arthalion
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: adorno
Now, if we could only use the 'running, not running' principle on our cars. Imagine being able to get from point A to point B with your automobile turned off. Imagine the energy savings!

But then the whole oil market would crash. The middle east would be sent to abject poverty. They would turn around and...hate us.

Hmmm...

26 posted on 02/23/2006 9:14:19 AM PST by Personal Responsibility (Amnesia is a train of thought.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 22 | View Replies]

To: edcoil

Link:

http://www.newscientist.com/channel/info-tech/mg18925405.700.html


27 posted on 02/23/2006 9:15:58 AM PST by No.6 (www.fourthfightergroup.com)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: edcoil

I posted this reply before this thread was even started. Took a while to show up here though, quantum anomolies and all..


28 posted on 02/23/2006 9:19:13 AM PST by Paradox (Liberalism is Narcissism.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: edcoil
Oh oh, now we are REALLY in trouble!!!!
29 posted on 02/23/2006 9:20:31 AM PST by China Clipper
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Hegemony Cricket

The cat, actually, being dead, voted democrat

Eureka! You have provided the clue to solve this conundrum. . .to wit:

Dead democrats make less mistakes.

parsy, who is actually now a democrat, but a live, good, one.


30 posted on 02/23/2006 9:20:36 AM PST by parsifal ("Knock and ye shall receive!" (The Bible, somewhere.))
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 21 | View Replies]

To: No.6

Ok. You sound like the kind of fellow who would know the answer to this:

How many surrealists does it take to change a light bulb?

parsy, the whimsical.


31 posted on 02/23/2006 9:22:11 AM PST by parsifal ("Knock and ye shall receive!" (The Bible, somewhere.))
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 24 | View Replies]

To: formercalifornian

I do not read the story, yet I undertand it.


32 posted on 02/23/2006 9:23:28 AM PST by TheBrotherhood (Tancredo for President.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: Personal Responsibility
But then the whole oil market would crash. The middle east would be sent to abject poverty. They would turn around and...hate us.

Oh, but the poor wouldn't be poor anymore.

The money they would save on energy could be used for food and clothing and entertainment.

Everybody wins!
33 posted on 02/23/2006 9:23:46 AM PST by adorno
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 26 | View Replies]

To: edcoil

It could be retaining power from a charge, but the point is
is is actually running, just at a particular state. If it wasn't running at all, how would it know to answer? It doesn't have ESP built in...


34 posted on 02/23/2006 9:26:22 AM PST by TommyDale
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

To: Paradox

You have to love Zero's theory. Take your pencil and drop it on the table. Now, remember that clunk and look at the pencil on the table - that, did not just occur.

The theory is that for it to fall, it has to fall half way and to fall it goes half way again and again never reaching the other surface.

Have fun with that one.


35 posted on 02/23/2006 9:38:23 AM PST by edcoil (Reality doesn't say much - doesn't need too)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 28 | View Replies]

To: Uriah_lost

The "none of the above", while not having identifiable face, would turn out just as bad as the rest of them. "Office makes a man" as they used to say about the popes.


36 posted on 02/23/2006 9:43:11 AM PST by GSlob
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 18 | View Replies]

To: edcoil

And the answer is "42."


37 posted on 02/23/2006 9:44:09 AM PST by dfwgator
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: linear

No, you're not understanding, this has nothing to do with power states or whether or not the computer itself is running. Instead, the zeno effect is put to use where the photon isn't actually run through the program, but (for lack of a better description) only influenced by the program. We know that an unstable particle can never decay if it's being observed, but the observation does influence the particle and alters it. That's what's at work here.


38 posted on 02/23/2006 9:45:18 AM PST by Melas (What!? Read or learn something? Why would anyone do that, when they can just go on being stupid)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 10 | View Replies]

To: IronJack

No. The good bombs will influence your test particle differently than the bad bombs. Zeno principle at work.


39 posted on 02/23/2006 9:47:00 AM PST by Melas (What!? Read or learn something? Why would anyone do that, when they can just go on being stupid)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 23 | View Replies]

To: IronJack
If the (good) bombs exploded when hit with a single photon, wouldn't this experiment always detonate the good bombs?

No, because in the case where the photon appears at detector C, and the bomb remains unexploded, the photon never actually hit the bomb. The wavefunction takes both paths, but the wavefunction is not the photon. The wavefunction is a description of possible paths (or locations, if you will) for the photon. If the detector at B isn't working, then there's no way the photon could ever end up at C, because the wavefunction that describes its allowed paths would cancel out. The two paths to C end up with the opposite phase by construction.

So we see a photon at C, and we see no explosion. What do we know? Well, we know that the detector at B works, else we couldn't have seen the photon at C. (The photon would necessarily have taken both paths, you see, leading to the wave cancellation at C. But since in the exploding case it can't take both paths, the wave cancellation at C never occurs.) We also know that the photon took the path that didn't go past the bomb, or the bomb would have exploded. So we know that although the bomb didn't explode, it must be good.

[Geek alert: the "photon", as we use the term here to describe the thing that makes the bomb go boom, refers to the position eigenstate of the wavefunction. Careful, though: sometimes the word "photon" can refer to the momentum eigenstate of the wavefunction (as in, "what was the frequency of that photon"), and sometimes it can refer to the wavefunction itself. In this example, though, what matters to the bomb is where the photon goes.]

40 posted on 02/23/2006 9:48:12 AM PST by Physicist
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 23 | View Replies]

To: edcoil

Yeah, Zeno's Paradox. In order for you to get anywhere, you have to pass through an infinite number of halfway points.. I believe I read somewhere the resolution of this apparent paradox, but I'd have to go look it up again, and besides, I'd never get there..


41 posted on 02/23/2006 9:48:29 AM PST by Paradox (Liberalism is Narcissism.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 35 | View Replies]

To: edcoil
Misleading headline. The computer was running
42 posted on 02/23/2006 9:49:26 AM PST by Lurking in Kansas (Nothing witty here… move on.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: edcoil

Totally confused bump.


43 posted on 02/23/2006 9:50:38 AM PST by techcor
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: edcoil
Zeno's fallacy: His hidden assumption that the sum of an infinite series of finite terms is necessarily infinite. This is clearly not so. The sum of the series 1/2 + 1/4 + 1/8 + ... 1/2n... is 1, as can be easily shown by first-year calculus.

The Greeks of his day were not comfortable with the concept of infinite series, and produced several fallacies along these lines, with Zeno's being the most well-known.

44 posted on 02/23/2006 9:56:39 AM PST by SAJ
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 35 | View Replies]

To: parsifal

(Aside: I've enjoyed the explanantions of your time on DU. Cool beans.)

Remember when computer games were written in BASIC? You could extract the primary calculations, find the best answers "offline" and then "win" the game by huge scores/margins (impressing the gorgeous, red-haired, flirty chick at the lab terminal next to you that you hope you can check to see if the cuffs match the collar...)

That, in very simple terms, is what the photon is doing. The program isn't running but the photon is interacting with the primary coding inside the program.


45 posted on 02/23/2006 10:36:31 AM PST by Cletus.D.Yokel (GWBush for Commish of Baseball! Pass it on.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: Nightshift

huh?


46 posted on 02/23/2006 10:37:53 AM PST by tutstar (Baptist Ping List Freepmail me if you want on or off this ping list.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: dfwgator

Wrong. It's Quantum Mechanics. The answer must be "1". Just ask Schroedinger...


47 posted on 02/23/2006 10:39:22 AM PST by Cletus.D.Yokel (GWBush for Commish of Baseball! Pass it on.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 37 | View Replies]

To: edcoil
A stopped clock is also correct at least 2 minutes every day.
48 posted on 02/23/2006 10:42:54 AM PST by Lockbar (March toward the sound of the guns.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: rdb3; chance33_98; Calvinist_Dark_Lord; Bush2000; PenguinWry; GodGunsandGuts; CyberCowboy777; ...

A little late...

49 posted on 02/23/2006 10:46:15 AM PST by ShadowAce (Linux -- The Ultimate Windows Service Pack)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: edcoil

"The new design includes a quantum trick called the Zeno effect. Repeated measurements stop the photon from entering the actual program, but allow its quantum nature to flirt with the program's components - so it can become gradually altered even though it never actually passes through."

I've had several graduate quantum mechanics classes and still don't get this.


50 posted on 02/23/2006 10:48:45 AM PST by gondramB (Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's and unto God that which is God's.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]


Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first 1-5051-76 next last

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson