Professor Brian Cox recommends studying black holes to improve quantum computers

Quantum error correction codes and the black hole information conundrum are related in a lot of ways.

Professor Brian Cox, whose enthusiasm for black holes is obvious in his interview with The Register, didn’t try to hide it. He then went on to talk about how new ideas about black holes are helping to make quantum computing better.

Cox told The Register last week from Sydney, Australia, where he had been hosting his live show, Horizons, that “the study of black holes in the last several years has truly revolutionized our concept of what space and time are.” There are clear connections between quantum computing and the study of black holes, their behavior, and the escape of information from them.

Cox says that what we know about black holes has changed a lot in the last ten years. This has helped us understand the quantum theory of gravity and, by extension, how quantum computing works.

It’s remarkable how closely related the difficulties of solving the black hole information paradox and the use of quantum error correction codes to safeguard quantum computers’ memories against malfunctions are. “Nearly a perfect fusion of both genres,” said the scientist/musician who also studied quantum mechanics.

The quantum structure of space and time is something you’d like to see in your imagination. Ideally, you’d like to excavate a small section of space and examine its connections to surrounding regions. You can’t do that right now unless you’re a black hole. A black hole is exactly what it sounds like. So, learning about these things will help you understand how space is put together better.

The NASA orbiting telescope is only one sixth of the way complete.

The NASA orbiting telescope is only one sixth of the way complete, despite its massive size (six miles in diameter).

How did ESA’s gamma-ray detecting telescope reach the age of 20? They went way too far with it.

What the heck? On Monday, Jupiter will draw closer to Earth than it has in 70 years.

The Physics Nobel could go to any one of three quantum physicists at once.

This is why Cox supports the Event Horizon Telescope, an international network of eight ground-based radio telescopes designed to study black holes. He is very excited about the James Webb telescope, the Mars sample-return mission at JPL, the Europa Clipper, and the big plans for gravitational wave detectors in space.

He said that we are living in the “golden age” of space exploration.

Cox said that the James Webb Telescope would be as important to astronomy in a few years as the Hubble is now.

The Webb telescope is sensitive enough to look into the atmospheres of other planets and powerful enough to watch the first galaxies form.

“The James Webb is one of the first instruments, and definitely, I believe it’d be fair to say, the most powerful instrument at present,” said Cox regarding the James Webb Space Telescope’s role in probing alien atmospheres and searching for things like potentially biological signs.

Cox makes a distinction between microbes and complex life, saying that microbes are much more common in the universe than complex life.

On average, the physicist speculated, there might be only one advanced civilization per galaxy. “Almost certainly everyone would agree with you. There aren’t that many of them. However, it’s possible that microscopic organisms are present everywhere.



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