Entertainment Quantified

Jun 16, 2004 - Science

Quantum Teleportation

Six long years ago I walked away from Montana State University with a Bachelor of Science in Physics. I promptly got a job in the Silicon Valley writing programs that nobody has ever heard of or used. What have I been using my degree for then? Aside from the occasional DirectX video game (linear algebra truly is important in this hobby along with classical mechanics) I use my degree for tricks at parties. One trick always amazes people is the discussion of quantum teleportation. Quantum teleportation has been demonstrated to teleport a beam of light about a meter away using a strange property of quantum mechanics called “entanglement.” This does not really give us the opportunity to teleport to another continent yet, but it does open the door a little more to practical applications of quantum mechanics. There are quantum applications in use today for security. Quantum cryptography uses some properties of a photon of light to encrypt data. This is a truly secure method because that one photon has properties that no other photon has ever had, will ever have, or has at this moment. In order to decrypt the information in the photon has to be destroyed. Other practical applications of quantum mechanics are just coming into sight. Quantum computing will give computers the ability to not only solves any problem instantly but it does so by calculating all possible solutions and then determining the most likely solution. Within the next ten years we will begin to see these projects come into the light. I cannot wait to start writing programs that take advantage of this much computing horsepower.