Time travel simulation shows no quantum butterfly effect

(ORDO NEWS) — The unintended consequences of butterfly-style time travel may be a problem in science fiction, but physicists now have reason to believe that the quantum landscape is less important.

Since going back to a previous point in time is still “too difficult,” physicists at Los Alamos National Laboratory in the US have created a simulation using the IBM-Q quantum computer.

“On a quantum computer, there are no problems with simulating evolution in reverse time or simulating the launch of a process back into the past,” says theoretical physicist Nikolai Sinitsyn.

It’s hardly as complicated as it is in the universe of historical events, but a small scene of correlated quantum states is enough for researchers to reproduce events with tiny changes to see how things happen.

“So we can really see what happens to a complex quantum world if we travel back in time, add small changes and come back. We found that our world remains, which means that there is no butterfly effect in quantum mechanics, ”says Sinitsyn.

Sinitsyn and his colleague, Bing Yang, wanted to figure out what would happen if they rewind the interactions that entangle the quantum waves of possibility – the “superposition” units we call qubits – and then made a quantum analogy for the flapping of a butterfly’s wing. Will the future remain untouched?

For those interested in the technical details, several entangled qubits were guided through a set of gates before they returned to their original setup.

Returning to the starting position, a measurement was carried out, which actually turned “maybe” into a solid “actuality”, displacing its superposition. Then the whole installation was started again.

“We found that even if an attacker made changes to damage a highly entangled state, we could still easily recover useful information because that damage does not increase during the decoding process,” says Yang.

It turns out that our squashed butterfly doesn’t make sense in the quantum world.

“We found that the concept of chaos in classical physics and quantum mechanics has to be understood differently,” says Sinitsyn.

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