In a recently published paper in the journal Nature, a team of researchers explain they used a quantum processor to create a successful (albeit theoretical) simulation of a functional Einstein-Rosen bridge, also known as a wormhole. From the abstract:
We invoke the holographic correspondence of the SYK many-body system and gravity to probe the conjectured ER=EPR relation between entanglement and spacetime geometry through the traversable wormhole mechanism as implemented in the SYK model. A qubit can be used to probe the SYK traversable wormhole dynamics through the corresponding teleportation protocol. This can be realized as a quantum circuit, equivalent to the gravitational picture in the semiclassical limit of an infinite number of qubits. Here we use learning techniques to construct a sparsified SYK model that we experimentally realize with 164 two-qubit gates on a nine-qubit circuit and observe the corresponding traversable wormhole dynamics.
Our experiment was run on the Google Sycamore processor. By interrogating a two-dimensional gravity dual system, our work represents a step towards a program for studying quantum gravity in the laboratory.
Does this sound like a bunch of AI-generated pseudo-sci-fi nonsense? Yeah sort of. Does it mean that we've finally opened a portal to a parallel universe? That, at least so far, is a no.
But, as the researchers explained in an interview with Reuters, this simulation is still a major step in understanding the cosmos, because it at least gives physicists somewhere to start with a working theory of how things could work:
"It looks like a duck, it walks like a duck, it quacks like a duck. So that's what we can say at this point – that we have something that in terms of the properties we look at, it looks like a wormhole," [co-author Joseph] Lykken [of the US-based particle accelerator lab Fermilab] said.
"But in the end, we're in experimental science, and we've been struggling now for a very long time to find a way to explore these ideas in the laboratory. And that's what's really exciting about this. It's not just, 'Well, wormholes are cool.' This is a way to actually look at these very fundamental problems of our universe in a laboratory setting."
Scientists build 'baby' wormhole as sci-fi moves closer to fact [Will Dunham / Reuters]
Traversable wormhole dynamics on a quantum processor [Daniel Jafferis, Alexander Zlokapa, Joseph D. Lykken, David K. Kolchmeyer, Samantha I. Davis, Nikolai Lauk, Hartmut Neven & Maria Spiropulu / Nature]
Image: Public Domain via Pixabay