A Parallel Universe Theory for Dummies

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Peter Fotis Kapnistos
September 6, 2016

Google recently said that its research shows that the “D-Wave” computer really uses quantum physics to solve complex problems. The D-Wave quantum computing system, bought by Google and NASA in 2013, is kept at NASA Ames Research Center, near Mountain View, Calif.

According to the researchers who work on this enormous box, the machine is filled with a big refrigeration system and a quantum-computing chip placed inside.
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Geordie Rose, the man who owns the D-Wave Company said being near the quantum computer is like “standing at the altar of an alien God.” Rose believes that the power of quantum computing is that we can “exploit parallel universes” to solve problems that we have no other means of proving.

Is the notion of “parallel universes” a radical, make-believe concept, or can it be scientifically clarified in a way that even school children can simply understand? Our current scientific knowledge of “reality” is based on two approaches: relativity and quantum mechanics.

Relativity accounts for gravity and implies that when we look out into space we are looking into the past. This is because of the finite speed of light. When we look at objects that are very great distances away from us, the light that is reaching us now will have started from the object quite a long time ago, so in fact we aren’t looking at what the object looks like now but what it looked like some time ago, when the light was emitted.

With quantum mechanics when we look into a nuclear particle field, we are in fact looking into the future. How can this be possible? At the quantum scale, space is a writhing, frantic, ever-changing foam where “virtual particles” pop in and out of existence all the time. In this realm, all possible futures may exist for an extremely limited space and time, as parallel universes.

To better understand this, let’s imagine that there only exist three virtual particles: red, blue and green. These virtual particles represent the probabilities of all possible futures. For example, if you decide to go to a movie, the probability of red virtual particles may greatly increase. However, if the phone suddenly rings and someone invites you out to dinner, the red virtual particles will quickly decrease and blue virtual particles may instead swell in number.

Remember, the virtual particles represent the mathematical probabilities of all possible futures (and parallel universes). So, if a dear friend suddenly knocks on the door and you finally decide to stay home for the evening, the red virtual particles and the blue particles will rapidly lessen, while green virtual particles may instead increase in quantity. When a possible future at last becomes your reality, the process is known as “collapse of the wave function.”

Geordie Rose predicted that quantum computers would in a few years outstrip human capabilities. He referred to the Many World Hypothesis (MWI), with his machines capable of accessing parallel, almost mirror-worlds to our own, timelines with the same physical laws, where resources in those universes can be accessed when we may need them.

Peter Fotis Kapnistos
September 2016

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