One aspect of this is that the properties of particles such as electrons do not exist until they are measured. The experiment doing the measuring determines what properties an electron might have.
An experiment can change the state vector arrow, projecting it in just one direction in the space. This is known as contextuality and it represents how the context of a specific experiment changes the possible properties of the electron being measured. These peculiar similarities also apply to how search engines retrieve information. Around a decade ago, computer scientists Dominic Widdows, now at Google Research in Pittsburgh , Pennsylvania, and Keith van Rijsbergen of the University of Glasgow, UK, realised that the mathematics they had been building into search engines was essentially the same as that of quantum theory.
An urgent challenge is to get computers to find meaning in data in much the same way people do, says Widdows.
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This is called negation and is based on classical logic. Widdows has found that a negation based on quantum logic works much better.
Negation means removing from the search pages that shares any component in common with this vector, which would include pages with words like music, guitar, Hendrix and so on. As a result, the search becomes much more specific to what the user wants. This is just where the quantum-inspired models give fresh insights. That work is now being used to create entirely new ways of retrieving information.
Widdows, working with Trevor Cohen at the University of Texas in Houston, and others, has shown that quantum operations in semantic Hilbert spaces are a powerful means of finding previously unrecognised associations between concepts. This may even offer a route towards computers being truly able to discover things for themselves. The researchers then create a multi-dimensional Hilbert space with state vectors representing the triplets and applied quantum mathematics to find other state vectors that, loosely speaking, point in the same direction. These new state vectors represent potentially meaningful triplets not actually present in the original list.
He and his colleagues then asked medical researchers to use the approach to generate hypotheses and associations beyond what they could come up with on their own. One of them, molecular biologist Graham Kerr Whitfield of the University of Arizona in Phoenix , used it to explore the biology of the vitamin D receptor and its role in the pathogenesis of cancer.
It suggested a possible link between a gene called ncor-1 and the vitamin D receptor, something totally unexpected to Kerr Whitfield, but now the focus of experiments in his lab. Peter Bruza at Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane, Australia, suggests the reason is to do with our finite brain being overwhelmed by the complexity of the environment yet having to take action long before it can calculate its way to the certainty demanded by classical logic.
- Struggling with quantum logic: Q&A with Aaron O’Connell | TED Blog.
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This idea fits with the views of some psychologists, who argue that strict classical logic only plays a small part in the human mind. Cognitive psychologist Peter Gardenfors of Lund University in Sweden , for example, argues that much of our thinking operates on a largely unconscious level, where thought follows a less restrictive logic and forms loose associations between concepts. Aerts agrees.
Perhaps only humans, with our seemingly illogical minds, are uniquely capable of discovering and understanding quantum theory. To be human is to be quantum.
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Quantum Logic Spectroscopy
But the new photonic device shrinks all these components onto a single silicon chip. It has source of photons, beam splitters, silica waveguides to channel the photons through the device as well as components for creating and measuring quantum bits or qubits. One of the key questions these guys set out to answer is how well each of these components work and how their limitations contribute to the overall performance of the chip.
Until now, one problem with this approach is that it is difficult to create high quality single photons in chip-based devices. The advance that Metcalf and co have achieved is to dramatically improve the quality of their single photon sources while characterizing the losses from other optical components such as beam splitters and waveguides for the first time. The new chip is by no means perfect: it performs with around 89 percent fidelity.
Quantum Logic Gates
One source of errors is the photon source, which is far from ideal. A more significant source of errors is the non-ideal beam splitters, which by themselves reduce the fidelity of the device to around 90 percent. It is inevitable that beam splitters and waveguides made in this way will deviate from their design parameters.
The challenge is to ensure that these deviations are kept to a minimum or corrected by other components in real-time. Finally, future photonic chips will need better materials that reduce the loss of photons due to scattering.
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That becomes particularly important as chips become larger and more complex. So the scale of the future challenges are clear. If physicists want to build photonic chips capable of carrying out quantum computation, they will need better photons guns, less lossy materials and active components that can measure correct aberrations in real-time.
Large-scale quantum computers are coming but on this evidence, not in the very near future in photonic form. Ref: arxiv. Emerging Technology from the arXiv. The first teleportation of a photon inside a photonic chip illustrates both the potential for quantum computation and the significant challenges that lay ahead. From our advertisers. In association with Intel. Produced in association with IBM.