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Aug 22, 2018

D-Wave demonstrates first large-scale quantum simulation of topological state of matter

Posted by in categories: quantum physics, robotics/AI

D-Wave Systems today published a milestone study demonstrating a topological phase transition using its 2048-qubit annealing quantum computer. This complex quantum simulation of materials is a major step toward reducing the need for time-consuming and expensive physical research and development.

The paper, entitled “Observation of topological phenomena in a programmable lattice of 1,800 qubits”, was published in the peer-reviewed journal Nature. This work marks an important advancement in the field and demonstrates again that the fully programmable D-Wave quantum computer can be used as an accurate simulator of quantum systems at a large scale. The methods used in this work could have broad implications in the development of novel materials, realizing Richard Feynman’s original vision of a quantum simulator. This new research comes on the heels of D-Wave’s recent Science paper demonstrating a different type of phase transition in a quantum spin-glass simulation. The two papers together signify the flexibility and versatility of the D-Wave quantum computer in of materials, in addition to other tasks such as optimization and machine learning.

In the early 1970s, theoretical physicists Vadim Berezinskii, J. Michael Kosterlitz and David Thouless predicted a new state of matter characterized by nontrivial topological properties. The work was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2016. D-Wave researchers demonstrated this phenomenon by programming the D-Wave 2000Q system to form a two-dimensional frustrated lattice of artificial spins. The observed topological properties in the simulated system cannot exist without quantum effects and closely agree with theoretical predictions.

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Aug 22, 2018

“Molecular clock” study traces evolution back to ancestor of all life on Earth

Posted by in category: evolution

The further back in time you go, the patchier our understanding of life on Earth gets. That’s because fossils from those early years are extremely hard to come by and interpret, for a number of reasons. Now, British scientists have used a different method known as a molecular clock to plot out a rough timeline of all life on Earth, tracing the first organisms back to about 4.5 billion years ago.

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Aug 22, 2018

What does a city of one million people on Mars look like?

Posted by in categories: alien life, computing, virtual reality

An urban utopia on Mars might be closer than you think.

For the past year, creative professionals, students, space geeks—even families—have been creating their visions for a metropolis on the fourth planet from the sun. The final winners of the HP Mars Home Planet challenge were announced today by HP and unveiled in a VR experience at SIGGRAPH 2018, an annual computer graphics convention, in Vancouver.

“The amazing entries from the HP Mars Home Planet challenge give us a virtual window into what life on Mars could be like for a million members of humanity,” says judge Dr. Darlene Lim, a geobiologist and principal investigator, NASA Biologic Analog Science. “Technological advancement is being met by a broad array of foundational space science and planetary research—a confluence that will optimistically serve to accelerate our path toward human exploration and settlement of Mars.”

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Aug 22, 2018

Google’s Plan for Toronto Takes Shape as Privacy Questions Persist

Posted by in categories: government, innovation

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has proudly declared that Toronto’s Quayside will become “a testbed for new technologies” thanks to its partnership with Google’s urban innovation wing, Sidewalk Labs. But amid new public round tables, key parts of the proposal remain hidden and three government partners have resigned.

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Aug 22, 2018

The Universe Is Disappearing, And There’s Nothing We Can Do To Stop It

Posted by in category: space

With every second that goes by, tens of thousands of star disappear from our reach. And it’s getting worse.

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Aug 22, 2018

The Many Yous

Posted by in category: biotech/medical

If you’ve read some of my latest articles, you might remember that I’ve been spending some time in my hometown. My quasi-holiday is not over yet, but my stay in my hometown pretty much is; I’m leaving in a few hours.

During my stay, I’ve told my girlfriend many times that wandering around my hometown feels like having someone else’s memories implanted in my head. I’ve never considered myself too attached to the place where I grew up, but after years of absence, I’ve become even less so. It’s like the place doesn’t have an effect on me anymore; it can’t really influence me. I know my way around it and I remember where landmarks and things are, but there’s little emotional connection left. It’s almost like being a tourist. Even my own room, which used to be pretty much my realm up until I was 18, now feels just like any regular room—in no small part because it has changed quite a bit since then. Given a few more years, I might lose all feelings for the place.

This shouldn’t be a surprise. Your feelings for places and people change and sometimes fade away altogether, over the years. This happens within currently normal lifetimes; what is going to happen if and when our lives last for centuries?

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Aug 22, 2018

Man sues over Google’s “Location History” fiasco, case could affect millions

Posted by in category: futurism

If “Location History” was off, Google said it didn’t keep data—but that’s not true.

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Aug 22, 2018

Researchers manipulate individual graphene dislocations on the atomic scale

Posted by in categories: energy, transportation

Materials can deform plastically along atomic-scale line defects called dislocations. Many technical applications such as forging are based on this fundamental process, but the power of dislocations is also exploited in the crumple zones of cars, for instance, where dislocations protect lives by transforming energy into plastic deformation. FAU researchers have now found a way of manipulating individual dislocations directly on the atomic scale.

Using advanced in situ , the researchers in Prof. Erdmann Spiecker’s group have opened up new ways to explore the fundamentals of plasticity. They have published their findings in Science Advances.

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Aug 22, 2018

Physicists Think They’ve Spotted the Ghosts of Black Holes from Another Universe

Posted by in categories: cosmology, physics

Weird patches of the sky where the cosmic microwave background radiation looks funny could be signs of long-dead universes, physicist Roger Penrose said.

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Aug 22, 2018

Ancient Starlight Just Helped Confirm the Reality of Quantum Entanglement

Posted by in categories: particle physics, quantum physics

Quantum entanglement is the theory that particles can be connected in such a way that measuring one particle can instantaneously convey information about that measurement to the other particle, regardless of the distance between them. It almost sounds like magic, which is probably why it received a healthy dose of criticism from the physics community when the theory was first proposed nearly 100 years ago.

Albert Einstein was a particularly vocal critic of entanglement, which he famously described as “spooky action at a distance.” Part of Einstein’s beef with the quantum mechanics crowd was that he believed that particles have definite qualities that exist before they are measured and that two particles distant in space and time can’t affect one another instantaneously since they are limited by the speed of light—a viewpoint known as local realism.

Under quantum mechanics, however, the properties of a particle don’t exist independently of measurement used to determine those properties. Moreover, when it comes to entangled particles, the measurement of one particle will instantaneously influence the properties of the other entangled particle. This means that the values of these properties will be highly correlated—so highly correlated, in fact, that the degree of coincidence in their values can’t really be explained without recourse to quantum mechanics.

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