"YOU CAN HAVE THE SYSTEM BEHAVE AS IF THERE ARE TWO DISTINCT DIRECTIONS OF TIME."

__Future of Computing__

__Future of Computing__

Physicists shot a laser pulse sequence mimicking the
Fibonacci sequence at a quantum computer and ended up creating a new phase of
matter in the process, according to a study published in Nature earlier this
year.

They suggest that the newfound phase of matter is
particularly robust in preserving information, more so than the methods
currently used.

It's a potentially massive breakthrough that could allow
quantum computers to be far more reliable, since with current technology,
keeping qubits in their quantum states is a precarious task.

__Qubit Quandary__

__Qubit Quandary__

In the realm of quantum computing, a one or zero is not
stored as an ordinary bit, but a qubit. What distinguishes a qubit is that it
can be a one or zero at the same time, potentially allowing quantum computers
to blaze through far more advanced calculations that take classical computers
orders of magnitude longer to complete.

Quantum computers still have a long way to go before
reliably achieving that kind of speed or to be practical in everyday use. For
one, the qubits require an extremely controlled environment in which a slight
perturbation, like a minuscule change in temperature, could cause the qubits to
lose their quantum states — and their information.

In the experiment, a regular qubit at each end of a line-up
of ten atoms retained its quantum state for 1.5 seconds. But when they blasted
those atoms with a pulse of laser light to the tune of the Fibonacci numbers —
a sequence of numbers where each number is the sum of the two preceding ones —
the qubits lasted a whopping 5.5 seconds.

And according to the physicists, the reason that occurs has
to do with time itself.

"What we realized is that by using quasi-periodic
sequences based on the Fibonacci pattern, you can have the system behave as if
there are two distinct directions of time," study lead author Philip
Dumistrescu, a research fellow at the Flatiron Institute's Center for
Computational Quantum Physics, told Gizmodo in a recent interview.

__Erasing Errors__

__Erasing Errors__

But why the Fibonacci numbers? In essence, when you shoot
laser pulses following the Fibonacci numbers, they act as a sort of
quasicrystal, the physicists say, a structure of matter that adheres to a
pattern, but is not periodic.

In other words, ordered, but not repeating.

"With this quasi-periodic sequence, there's a
complicated evolution that cancels out all the errors that live on the
edge," Dumistrescu elaborated in a press release. "Because of that,
the edge stays quantum-mechanically coherent much, much longer than you’d
expect."