Aug 17, 2019 | Updated: 07:24 AM EDT

Time reversal through quantum computers

Mar 21, 2019 08:27 AM EDT

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Valerii Vinokur and his team of scientists from the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory successfully returned a computer briefly to the past. 

Their findings were published in the journal Scientific Reports on their March 13, 2019 issue. The researchers explored time reversal in quantum systems. 

The reversal of time was accomplished by simulating particle scattering by developing an algorithm for IBM's public quantum computer. A particle moves straight in a line in classical physics while this particle spreads in multiple directions in quantum physics. It is similar to reversing the rings formed when a pond is thrown with a stone. 

It is considered impossible to reverse a particle back into its original state in nature. 

Researchers say that this would only be possible if an external force would control at every point the quantum waves of the particle. It was emphasized that controlling these quantum waves would be much longer than the universe itself. 

This principle was determined by th team developing an electron scattering simulation through a two-level quantum system which involved qubit (the basic unit of quanutm information) and its related evolution in time. The particle moves from a localized to a scattered state and then the process gets reversed. 

Quantum mechanics is led by probability than certainty. An 85 percent result was provided by the algorithm in a two-qubit quantum computer. 

"We did what was considered impossible before," said Argonne senior scientist Valerii Vinokur, who led the research.

Their findings showed that the second law of thermodynamics is violated in the quantum system. It is possible to move from disorder to order rather than order to disorder (which is the law of entropy). 

"The results also give a nod to the idea that irreversibility results from measurement, highlighting the role that the concept of 'measurement' plays in the very foundation of quantum physics," said article coauthor Gordey Lesovik of the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology.


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