Friday, February 24, 2006

Wave or Particle? Here or There? Up or Down? The Outer Darkness


By Elaine Meinel Supkis

When I was struck by lightning the first time, I fell into a paradoxical universe which I call "the Outer Darkness" but it did have something, a juncture of where all opposites exist simultaneously in the same place at the same time. I couldn't figure out where I fit in this so I fled and started breathing again. I know how Schroedinger's cat feels in that box. It isn't pretty.

From the Register:
A quantum computer at a US University has solved a computational problem without running a program. Scientists at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign gleaned the answer to an algorithm by combining quantum computation and quantum interrogation (a technique that makes use of wave-particle duality to search a region of space without actually entering that region) in an optical-based quantum computer through a process called "counterfactual computation".
Tremendous power exists where the two worlds intersect, where matter and antimatter cross, where, well, this is what lightning is all about, too. Having been unified with the positive and negative polarity of a strike, I assure you, there is another place that isn't this place at all nor is it the reverse, it is a unifying oneness which results in a pretty powerful explosion.

As scientists used computers to track and figure out the streams of information, the faster the computational abilities, the closer we get to "seeing" this sort of event horizon which incidentally is very much what the surface of a black hole is also about. Common sense logic argues against a paradoxical universe but Mother Nature loves paradoxes, you might as well name Schroedinger's Box "Pandora".

Light itself, the most fleet of foot item in the universe, is a paradox. It is a wave that exists in several time realities while at the same time, it is a particle that has its own existence but doesn't reveal itself except in death, when it betrays itself by striking something and even then, it retains itself in various ways including being incorporated inside of another entity only to be reexpressesd in the form of new energy such as the photons that hit the plants and animals and was "eaten" only to be released again, half a billion years later in the form of energy that powers a lightbulb which produces photon units yet again! It is part of what the unity of nature is all about.
Utilising two coupled optical interferometers, nested within a third, Kwiat's team succeeded in counterfactually searching a four-element database using Grover's quantum search algorithm. "By placing our photon in a quantum superposition of running and not running the search algorithm, we obtained information about the answer even when the photon did not run the search algorithm," said graduate student Onur Hosten, lead author of the Nature paper. "We also showed theoretically how to obtain the answer without ever running the algorithm, by using a 'chained Zeno' effect."

Through clever use of beam splitters and both constructive and destructive interference, the researchers can put each photon in a superposition of taking two paths. Although a photon can occupy multiple places simultaneously, it can only make an actual appearance at one location. Its presence defines its path, and that can, in a very strange way, negate the need for the search algorithm to run.
I bet this is the way bee or ant brains work. They have no brains yet they "think" individually and collectively. They barely have anything approaching a nervous system yet they think as exquisitely as a computer doing alogrithims in the fashion described here.

Ants and bees constantly have to make "choices" like, whether or not to sting me when I walk by the bee hive. I know they are "thinking" because the bees will fly around me, move up and down and signal with their wings, their intentions. When they are happy with me, they make a very faint buzz but if something angers them, the buzz is much louder. And they fly in front of my face instead of next to me.

Computer electronics get more and more hive-like rather than human as we speed up processing. The earlier forms used clumsy direct paths but even so, with the 1-0 paradigm was already not quite human (er, I guess! heh). I brains are, I fear, mostly for processing either our dreams or our waking emotions. We have to train them to do other things like hunt without shooting lobbyists in the face, for example. But even with hunting, the more one does the actual killing in "automode" the more successful one is. This is why we target shoot. I can tell by the sound of the release of the string of a bow if the arrow will hit the target.

Anyway, back to the astonishing news today that paradoxical non-one/non-zero computing can occur under some conditions means very small electronics can be used if this state is stable enough, to do much more than present systems that rely on a cascade of 1s and 0s alternating rather than co-existing. Actually, I hope this sounds even slightly reasonable. Trying to make sense of all this is difficult and actually, I have more questions than answers, myself.

One of the things mentioned by the scientists is the old paradox of Zeno, the race between Achilles and the tortoise.
This paradox turns on much the same considerations as the last. Imagine Achilles chasing a tortoise, and suppose that Achilles is running at 1 m/s, that the tortoise is crawling at 0.1 m/s and that the tortoise starts out 0.9 m ahead of Achilles. On the face of it Achilles should catch the tortoise after 1s, at a distance of 1m from where he starts (and so 0.1m from where the Tortoise starts). We could break Achilles' motion up as we did Atalanta's, into halves, or we could do it as follows: before Achilles can catch the tortoise he must reach the point where the tortoise started. But in the time he takes to do this the tortoise crawls a little further forward. So next Achilles must reach this new point. But in the time it takes Achilles to achieve this the tortoise crawls forward a tiny bit further. And so on to infinity: every time that Achilles reaches the place where the tortoise was the tortoise has had enough time to get a little bit further, and so Achilles has another run to make, and so Achilles has in infinite number of finite catch-ups to do before he can catch the tortoise, and so, Zeno concludes, he never catches the tortoise.
The closer Achillies gets to the pesky turtle, the slower time flows until he crosses the event horizon and ends up with no time or space because both he and the pesky reptile are on a black hole.

Kind of like Iraq for us. You go in, can't get out again. And everything is frozen in time except when bombs go off and then one gets to live in all eternity.

Heh. See? I brought everything back to Bush and Cheney, the Black Hole Twins! Hooray.
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