Monday, March 19, 2012

Schrodinger's Cat, Light Switches & Quitrits

We live in a world which is mostly space and time . Space is something we move in and time is primarily used as a marker . We can't change the direction of time and we can't travel within time as we can within space. In our world, we can see the properties of most things by simply looking at or examining them . For instance a property of a car might be that it is red in color. If we want to gamble on something we can figure out the probability of winning or losing. For example if we toss a coin over a long period of time it will come out as a possibility of ½ because there is a chance that one time it will be heads and another time tails. The reason for this consistency is that we live in a space which is relatively constant. The quantum world is somewhat different. It doesn't have space in in which we have to move to get from A to B. Space in the quantum world is like time in our world. Space in the quantum world is an intellectual abstraction. Time in the world you and I know is, generally speaking, also an intellectual abstraction . Time in the quantum world has something called superposition. Superposition means that in the quantum world, all the properties of something like a car are presented at once. For instance all the possible colors and shades of a car are present at once. As soon as you eyeball the car in the quantum world, you only see one color because of your action of looking at it. The quantum world also has entanglement . Things in the quantum world can't literally travel through space because space doesn't exist . In the quantum world, entanglement modifies things. This means if you change something over here, the changes immediately appear over there. The last thing is what I call superlocation. Since space in the quantum world doesn't exist except as an abstraction, you can have things existing in exactly the same location. Now for the quitrit. In our world of time and space we usually think in terms of yes or no which is the one or zero bit. The computer in our world functions around the zero ( 0 ) or one ( 1 ) bit. There is a third ( 3rd ) possibility which most of us think as being random because it doesn't always present itself. There is a probability that the flipped coin could end up on its' edge instead of heads or tails. The chances of that happening from a probability viewpoint is so remote that we call it a random occurrence. The equivalent to a bit in our world is the qubit ( quantum bit ) in the quantum world. The equivalent to randomness in the quantum world since there isn't any space except in the abstract is the quitrit. The most famous example in the quantum world is Schrodinger’s cat. Usually Schrodinger’s cat in the quantum world is considered to be alive and dead at the same time ( qubit ) because of superposition or all possibilities until we open the cat's box and eyeball it at which point an arbitrary choice is made ( yes (1) or no (0 )) because we looked at it and disturbed the energy. Randomness in the quantum world is the quitrit. The quitrit represents the possibility that it isn't yes or no but somewhere in between yes or no. The in between is also a superposition of all possibilities but it is one that never crosses our minds. In the case of Schrodinger's cat it is the moribund condition which is technically and subtly neither alive nor dead but is ½ way in between. If you're not into cats, think of it as a light switch. The light switches superposition of all possibilities is either on ( yes ) or off ( no ). The moribund condition of the light switch in the superposition of all possibilities is when it is ½ way in between which is neither on ( yes ) nor off ( no ).

Here are the equivalents.

In the real world we have:

Yes – 1 - Bit

No – 0 - Bit

Random – Maybe something will happen and maybe it won't. The probability is ½ .

In the quantum world:

Yes – 1 - Qubit

No – 0 - Qubit

Quitrit – The quitrit is ½ way between two states which is one of the superpositions of all possibilities. Neither yes nor no but ½ way in between becoming one or the other. Technically in the quantum world there isn't any randomness because the superposition of all possibilities also covers the concept of randomness. Of course, as soon as you eyeball the quantum world you inadvertently add or subtract protons which create a chaotic system until everything settles down. It's a hard concept to grasp because it's always present. In our real world randomness doesn't always happen because in our real world we only have probability which might or might not happen in the abstract. This we know because nothing in the real world is 100% and it is extremely difficult to find a number that is completely random, if you want to do an experiment which depends on random numbers.

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