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Unbelievable experiment allowed scientists to ‘reverse time’ with a quantum computer

Updated Jan 24th, 2023 9:01AM EST
old clock on pole
Image: Александр Бочкала / Adobe

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Time is the most valuable thing that we have in our lives, and we never seem to have enough of it. Whether you’re trying to scratch out more time, or just making the most of what you have, there’s no denying that being able to reverse time would be handy. Well, a group of scientists have managed to do just that, though it most likely won’t lead to a time machine or anything.

The scientists published a paper on the discovery in Scientific Reports. In the report, the researchers detail how they managed to reverse time inside a quantum computer. It’s a massive accomplishment, though, as stated above, it isn’t likely to lead to the invention of a time machine or anything anytime soon.

What it could do, though, is help make quantum computers more precise in the future. But, the discovery did more than just prove that we can revere time in some way. It also showed that doing something like that is so complex and improbable, that the chances of it happening naturally are very slim, maybe even impossible.

quantum computer helps scientists reverse time
Inside a Google quantum computer. Image source: Google

The researchers say they set out to see if they could get time to spontaneously reverse for just one particle, even if only for a fraction of a second. To do this, they set out to test it both within their lab environment and in a natural setting. A thought experiment began with a localized electron, which essentially means they were fairly sure about its position in a very small space.

Unfortunately, quantum mechanics is a tricky field, and the laws of quantum mechanics make it difficult to tell an electron’s position with complete accuracy. The idea was that they’d be able to reverse time and determine the electron’s precise starting location. They also discovered that the bigger the experiment became, the less accurate it became.

The discovery is intriguing and could change how quantum computers measure their accuracy in the future. We’ve seen quite a bit of news recently regarding the progress surrounding quantum mechanics and computers. Back in 2018, the ISS created the coldest spot in the universe, and this year scientists created matter from nothing.

It’s an intriguing time to be alive, and with so many discoveries happening, it’s intriguing to see what scientists will do from here. After all, how do you beat being able to reverse time, even if you can only do it within a quantum computer?

Josh Hawkins has been writing for over a decade, covering science, gaming, and tech culture. He also is a top-rated product reviewer with experience in extensively researched product comparisons, headphones, and gaming devices.

Whenever he isn’t busy writing about tech or gadgets, he can usually be found enjoying a new world in a video game, or tinkering with something on his computer.