Physicists are said to have created the first-ever wormhole , a theory proposed by Albert Einstein and Nathan Rosen in 1935 to travel from a place to A tunnel to another place.
A wormhole is like a hologram , created from quantum bits of information (qubits) stored in tiny superconducting circuits. By manipulating qubits, physicists send messages through wormholes, they report today in the journal Nature.
A team led by Caltech’s Maria Spiropulu implemented a novel “wormhole teleportation protocol” using Google’s quantum computer, a device called Sycamore, at Google’s quantum computer in Santa Barbara, California. AI.
When Spiropulu saw the qubits being signed by the wormhole’s key, she said.
I Was Terrified.
The experiment could be seen as evidence of the holographic principle , a sweeping hypothesis about how the two pillars of fundamental physics — quantum mechanics and general relativity — fit together. Since the 1930s, physicists have struggled to reconcile these disparate theories — a “rule book” about atoms and subatomic particles, and Einstein’s theory of how matter and energy warp the fabric of space-time , Generate a description of gravity.
The holographic principle, emerging since the 1990s, postulates a mathematical equivalence or “duality” between the two frameworks . It says that the curved space-time continuum described by general relativity is actually a quantum system of particles in disguise. Space-time and gravity emerge from quantum effects like 3D holograms are projected from 2D patterns.
In fact, new experiments confirm that quantum effects that we can control in quantum computers can produce a phenomenon we expect to see in relativity—wormholes. The evolving system of qubits in the Sycamore chip “has a really cool alternative description,” the researchers say, and you can imagine the system as gravity in a very different language.
To be clear, unlike normal holograms, wormholes are not something we can see. According to the lead developer of the wormhole teleportation protocol, while it can be considered a “filament of real spacetime,” it’s not part of the real world we inhabit. The holographic principle holds that the two realities—one with wormholes and one with qubits—are alternate versions of the same physics, but how to conceptualize this duality remains a mystery.
Crucially, the holographic wormhole in the experiment consists of a different kind of space-time than our own universe. Whether this experiment further confirms the hypothesis that the space-time we inhabit are also holograms made of qubits is still up for debate.
Enter The Wormhole
The story of holographic wormholes dates back to two seemingly unrelated papers published in 1935: one by Einstein and Rosen, known as ER, and one by the two of them and Boris Podolski’s paper, known as EPR.
In their ER paper, Einstein and his young assistant Rosen stumbled upon the possibility of wormholes as they attempted to extend general relativity into a unified theory of everything—a theory that not only described spacetime, but Subatomic particles suspended in them are described. In 1916, a few months after Einstein published his theory of general relativity, German physicist and soldier Karl Schwarzschild discovered obstacles in the fabric of space-time in the folds of general relativity.
Schwarzschild demonstrated that the gravitational force of mass itself can be so great that it is infinitely concentrated at a point where space-time is so sharply curved that the variable becomes infinite and Einstein’s equations fail. We now know that these “singularities” exist throughout the universe.
They’re points we can neither describe nor see, each hidden at the center of a black hole whose gravity traps all nearby light. Singularities are where a theory of quantum gravity is most needed.
Einstein and Rosen speculated that Schwarzschild’s mathematics might be a way to plug elementary particles into general relativity. To get this picture right, they took the singularity out of the equation and replaced it with an extra-dimensional tube that slides into another part of spacetime. Einstein and Rosen erroneously but presciently believed that these “bridges” (wormholes) might represent particles.
Ironically, in their effort to connect wormholes and particles, the duo hadn’t considered a strange particle phenomenon they had discovered with Podolsky two months earlier in their EPR paper: quantum entanglement.
Entanglement occurs when two particles interact. According to quantum laws, particles can have multiple possible states at the same time. This means that there are multiple possible outcomes of interactions between particles, depending on the state of each particle to begin with.
Their final states are always related, though—particle A’s final state depends on particle B’s final state. After such interactions, the particles have a common formula that specifies the various combined states they may be in.
This startling result led the authors of EPR to doubt quantum theory: Measuring particle A immediately determines the corresponding state of B, no matter how far away B is.
Ever since physicists discovered in the 1990s that quantum entanglement could enable new kinds of calculations, the importance of quantum entanglement has skyrocketed. Entangling two qubits creates four possible states.
Three qubits simultaneously generate eight possible states, and so on. The power of a “quantum computer” grows exponentially with each additional qubit of entanglement. In the past few years, prototypes of quantum computers composed of dozens of qubits have been realized.
Meanwhile, another reason quantum gravity researchers are concerned about quantum entanglement is that it could be the source code for space-time holograms.
ER = EPR
Discussions about emerging spacetime and holograms began in the late 1980s, when black hole theorist John Wheeler published the idea that spacetime, and everything in it, could originate from information. Soon, other researchers, including Dutch physicist Gerard T. Hooft, wondered whether this appearance might resemble the projection of a hologram.
There are already examples in black hole research and string theory where a description of a physical scene can be transformed into an equally valid view of an additional spatial dimension.
In a 1994 paper titled “The World in Holograms,” Stanford University quantum gravity theorist Leonard Susskind enriched Hooft’s principle of holography by arguing that the curvature of spacetime described by general relativity The volume is equivalent to the quantum particle system on the low-dimensional boundary of this region.
Three years later, a major example of the hologram appeared. Juan Maldacena, a quantum gravity theorist at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey, has discovered that a type of space known as anti-de Sitter (AdS) space is indeed a hologram.
Maldacena (left) and Susskind are leaders in the quantum gravity method known as holography. In 2013, they proposed that wormholes in space-time are equivalent to quantum entanglement, a conjecture known as ER = EPR.
The real universe is de Sitter space, a growing sphere powered by its own positive energy. In contrast, anti-de Sitter space is infused with negative energy giving the space a ” hyperbolic” geometry . Maldacena showed that space-time and gravity in an anti-de Sitter space universe correspond exactly to the properties of quantum systems on the boundary, specifically systems known as conformal field theory (CFT).
Maldacena’s 1997 paper describes this “AdS/CFT correspondence”. According to the researchers,
Attempts to exploit ideas based on AdS/CFT have been the main goal of thousands of the best theorists for decades.
When Maldacena himself explored the AdS/CFT map between dynamical spacetime and quantum systems, he made new discoveries about wormholes. He is studying a particular mode of entanglement involving two sets of particles, where each particle in one set is entangled with one particle in the other set.
Maldacena showed that this state corresponds mathematically to a rather dramatic hologram: a pair of black holes in AdS space, their interiors connected by a wormhole.
A decade passed before Mardacena realized in 2013 that his discovery might imply a more general correspondence between quantum entanglement and wormhole connections. He created a mysterious equation – ER = EPR , which Susskind understood right away. The two quickly put forward this conjecture together.
We think that the Einstein-Rosen bridge between two black holes is created by an EPR-like correlation between the microstates of the two black holes, and that the duality may be more general than that. It’s easy to think that any EPR-related system is connected by some kind of ER bridge.
Perhaps wormholes connect every pair of entangled particles in the universe, forming a spatial connection that records their shared history. Maybe Einstein was right in his hunch that wormholes are about particles.
When Jafferis heard Maldacena ‘s talk on ER = EPR at a conference in 2013, he realized that through speculative dualities, you could design custom wormholes by tweaking the entanglement patterns .
Jeffries envisions a thread, or any other physical connection, strung between the two sets of entangled particles that encode the two mouths of the wormhole. In this coupling, manipulating the particles on one side causes the particles on the other side to change, potentially opening up the wormhole between them. Could this make wormholes traversable?
Jeffries eventually figured out that, indeed, by coupling two sets of entangled particles, you could perform an operation on the left set of particles, in the dual high-dimensional space-time diagram, open a wormhole to the right port, and push a qubit pass.
The holographic, traversable wormhole was discovered in 2016 by Jeffries et al ., providing researchers with a new window into holographic mechanics.
Within a few months, Maldacena and two colleagues built on this plan by showing that traversable wormholes could be realized in a simple environment— “a quantum system simple enough that we could conceivably make it, said Jeffries.
The so-called SYK model is a system of matter particles that interact in groups. This model was first described by Subir Sachdev and Jinwu Ye in 1993. When theoretical physicist Alexei Kitaev discovered in 2015 that it was holographic, the model suddenly became much more important. Kitaev demonstrated that a particular version of the model in which matter particles interact in groups of four can be mathematically mapped to a one-dimensional black hole in AdS
Maldacena and his collaborators connected the dots, proposing that two SYK models linked together could encode the two mouths of Jeffries ‘ traversable wormhole . By 2019, they had found a concrete way to teleport a qubit of information from one system of four-way interacting particles to another.
In the dual space-time diagram, rotating the spin orientations of all particles translates into a negative energy shock wave sweeping through the wormhole, kicking the qubit forward and out of the wormhole at a predictable time.
Jeffreys’ wormhole was the first concrete realization of ER = EPR, and he showed that this relationship holds true for a specific system.
Wormhole in the laboratory
As theoretical work progresses, Maria Spiropulu, an accomplished experimental particle physicist involved in the discovery of the Higgs boson in 2012, is thinking about how to use nascent quantum computers to do holography Quantum gravity experiment. In 2018, she convinced Jeffreys to join her growing team.
To run Jeffreys’ wormhole teleportation protocol on a state-of-the-art quantum computer, Spiropulu’s team had to simplify the protocol considerably. A complete SYK model consists of an almost infinite number of particles interacting with random strengths, since the tetragonal interactions are present throughout.
This is not calculable. To do this, they encode only the strongest four-way interactions and ignore the rest, while preserving the holographic nature of the model.
Caltech physicist Spiropulu led the team behind the new wormhole experiment.
Programmers mapped the particle interactions of the SYK model onto the connections between neurons in the neural network and trained the system to remove as many network connections as possible while preserving key wormhole information. This process reduced the number of four-way interactions from hundreds to five.
Based on this, the team set out to program Sycamore’s qubit. Seven qubits encode 14 particles of matter — seven each in the left and right SYK systems, where each particle on the left is entangled with a particle on the right. The 8th qubit, in some probability combination of states 0 and 1, is then exchanged with a particle in the SYK model on the left.
The possible states of this qubit are quickly entangled with the states of the other particles to the left, like a drop in water, spreading its information evenly among them. This is the holographic duality with the qubit entering into the left mouth of the one-dimensional wormhole in anti-de Sitter space.
Then there’s the big spin of all the qubits, corresponding to the pulse of negative energy going through the wormhole. The rotation causes the injected qubit to transfer to the particle of the SYK model on the right. The information then stops traveling and refocuses on the location of the single particle on the right—the entangled partner of the particle on the left that was swapped out.
All states of the qubit are then measured. Counting the 0s and 1s across multiple experimental runs and comparing these statistics to the readiness of the injected qubits could reveal whether the qubits were teleporting.
The researchers looked for peaks in the data that represented the difference between the two cases: If they saw a peak, it meant that a qubit rotation that was dual to a negative energy pulse allowed the qubit to teleport, while a rotation in the opposite direction, dual to a positive energy pulse, allowed the qubit to teleport. , not allowing the qubit to pass through.
After two years of incremental improvements and noise reduction efforts, the peaks appeared on computer screens. I think we’re seeing a wormhole now, say the researchers. This peak is the first sign that you can see gravity on a quantum computer.
The housing of one of the many copies of the Sycamore chip, which consists of more than 50 qubits made from superconducting aluminum circuits.
Spiropoulou couldn’t believe what he was seeing was such a clean, clear peak,
It’s very similar to when I saw the first data from the Higgs discovery, not because I wasn’t expecting it, but because it was in front of me too much.
The meaning of wormhole
One of the most important takeaways was the interpretation of quantum mechanics from this experiment. Quantum phenomena like entanglement are often abstract. But in new experiments, an indescribable quantum phenomenon — the transmission of information between particles — has a concrete explanation . Perhaps quantum processes like teleportation can always feel the gravitational pull of qubits.
If something like this can be gleaned from this and other related experiments, it must tell us something deeper about the universe. Such quantum systems are much more complex than currently programmed systems. It seems certain that now that there is a holographic wormhole, many more will open.
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