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A quantum computer developed by Mile Gu, an assistant professor of physics at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore can see the future. To be specific, the unnamed quantum computer can see 16 versions of the future – all at the same time.
Sounds familiar? That’s what happened in the movie Avengers: Infinity War. The Marvel superhero Doctor Strange was able to see 14 million different futures.
But that was science fiction and therefore there wasn’t anything such as technical constraints, only the sky was the limit. Mile Gu’s Quantum Computer, on the flip side, is more realistic and tangible. The working principle is similar to the existing quantum computers, they don’t store information in binary(0 or 1/true or false/on or off). Instead, quantum computers deal with quantum bits which are popularly known as qubits.
How’s this different from bits? Qubits represent two different states at the same time, so it’s not on or off/ true or false, it’s both true and false at the same time, it’s on and off at the same time.
Gu put his quantum computer to the test and the result was quite satisfying. Gu and his team used a perturbed coin for testing how well it can solve problems.
“Imagine there’s a box, and inside it is a single coin,” Gu said. “At each step of the process, someone shakes the box a little bit, so the coin has a small probability of flipping.”
Two different coin experiments were done, one where the box was shaken strongly and the other one involved shaking the box lightly. The box was shaken four times, as a result of which there was a superposition of 16 outcomes(2x2x2x2 = 16) which was then encoded. Lastly, the team created a map using all these data to create a map of all possible futures.
Right now, constraints on computing power mean the team’s simulator can look at only 16 possible futures at once. One day, however, as quantum computers become larger, more powerful and more commonplace, simulators like this one could be expanded to see infinitely many futures at once, Gu said.