What's stopping you from firing up your time machine and traveling back in time to alter the past so that you benefit your current self? Well, you're probably worried about the Butterfly Effect, which is the concern among time travelers that they, through some small, unintended action, may set in motion a cascade of events with major negative consequences.
Good news, everyone! Quantum physicists (quantum physics is like physics, only more so) at Los Alamos National Laboratory say that there's nothing to worry about:
Using a quantum computer to simulate time travel, researchers have demonstrated that, in the quantum realm, there is no “butterfly effect.” In the research, information—qubits, or quantum bits—“time travel” into the simulated past. One of them is then strongly damaged, like stepping on a butterfly, metaphorically speaking. Surprisingly, when all qubits return to the “present,” they appear largely unaltered, as if reality is self-healing.
“On a quantum computer, there is no problem simulating opposite-in-time evolution, or simulating running a process backwards into the past,” said Nikolai Sinitsyn, a theoretical physicist at Los Alamos National Laboratory and coauthor of the paper with Bin Yan, a post doc in the Center for Nonlinear Studies, also at Los Alamos. “So we can actually see what happens with a complex quantum world if we travel back in time, add small damage, and return. We found that our world survives, which means there’s no butterfly effect in quantum mechanics.”
So what are you waiting for? Let's grab the keys to the DeLorean.
-via Instapundit | Image: Universal Pictures