Science 2 min read

Scientists Use Quantum Computing to Simulate Reversal of Time

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faithie /

Physicists from the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology used an IBM quantum computer to simulate the reversal of time. However, don’t get your hopes up, you won’t be time traveling any time soon.

While it was just a simulation and not the real thing, the feat holds significant practical and theoretical ramifications, especially in the understanding of the second law of thermodynamics.

The law states that entropy will increase with the passing of time.

For instance, a set of pool balls hit by a cue ball will be thrown in random directions across the table but will not return to the neat triangle position where they originate.

The researchers explained that the increase in entropy during this instance establishes the one-direction progression of events from the past to the future.

Simulating Reversal of Time

According to their study, the team created an algorithm for an IBM public quantum computer that can mimic the scattering of a particle.

In most cases, a scattered normal particle only moves in one straight direction.

That’s what supposed to happen normally, but it’s a different thing in the quantum realm. A particle in the quantum state takes on a fractured characteristic and scatters irreversibly in different directions.

The team reportedly simulated a scattered electron, launching the process in reverse. During the experiment, the physicists returned the electron in its original state 80 percent of the time using a two-qubit quantum computer.

Gordey Lesovik, a co-author of the study and researcher from MIPT, said in a statement:

“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.”

Lesovik and his team said that it would still take the universe’s lifetime for a time reversal to happen just one time. Even if they study 10 billion electrons every second, there is not enough computing power in the Universe to turn back the progress of time.

Read More: Why The Time Of Quantum Computing Is Now

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Chelle is the Product Management Lead at INK. She's an experienced SEO professional as well as UX researcher and designer. She enjoys traveling and spending time anywhere near the sea with her family and friends.

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