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GEN Samuels briskly stood and addressed the Senate Arms Services Committee. “What I am about to share is classified.  Since Marconi invented the radio, the military has used radio waves for communications.   Modern operations rely on radio waves underwater, on ground, in air and space. Physics limits what we can achieve with electromagnetic waves.   Terrain can block signals as can foliage and rain.  Signals can fade over distance and be scattered by buildings.  Waves can be jammed and tapped.”  Samuels paused. “Over the last decades, physicists demonstrated how quantum entanglement can communicate ‘instantaneously’ over distance; first with single particles, then with atoms and then at the macroscopic level.  I’m here to tell you that a small, consortium of academic, government and industry scientists reliably demonstrated non-electromagnetic communications using what is called Massively Entangled Quantum Communications or MEQC.”  Samuels stopped for effect.  “Small MEQC Nano-spaces have been successfully created and entangled to enable the exchange of high speed communications that is indifferent to the tyranny of distance and intervening material.  Ten MEQC nodes positioned around the globe at several bases, in space, and beneath the sea, work flawlessly.  A thousand nodes will be operational within weeks.   MEQC Technology can scale into millions and eventually will carry terabytes of data per second.”

Dr. Robert Kellum, MEQC Chief Scientist in Huntsville, hummed quietly to himself and concentrated as he made subtle adjustments to node MEQC-10.  Bob called over to Marc Ellis his chief engineer “Marc, are all sites on schedule for the incremental ramp of MEQC?”   Marc replied “Last I heard all sites are a go.  By the way – did you hear that Sandia announced their first gravity wave indication?”  “Well if they actually confirm one then they’ll get the headlines – not us Marc”, Bob smiled back.  Bob added “Marc I’m still puzzling over the indications we’re getting from our Nano-space feedback tuning mechanisms.  The Q-factor is much higher than expected for ten nodes and not scaling along theoretical lines.”  Marc replied “Well that’s good isn’t it?  Higher Q-factor means better entanglement and higher data rates”.  “Yes it does. We’ll need to get Q much higher to push into Tbps speeds and to keep the MEQC nodes coherent and stable as nodes increase.  Let’s ramp up the test data pings between all ten nodes and leave them running overnight.  First 100 MEQC nodes will come online tomorrow from Stuttgart in groups of ten.”

At 1000 the next day Sandia reported the overnight capture of their first positive gravity wave. 

“Bob – did you see that Sandia made the headlines!?”   “Yeah I heard that Marc – good for them.  Let’s contact Stuttgart and have them switch on their first ten nodes.”  Twenty minutes later a huge volume of extra data traffic came pouring over the nodes in Huntsville as expected.   Bob grinned from ear to ear “Marc this is fantastic!  Everything is according to plan.  Only anomaly is the Q-factor scaling exponentially.  Let’s give it an hour to check scalability and consistency before we call for another bank of ten to come up.”  “Works for me” Marc said also with a big grin. 
About 30 minutes later Marc read a new tweet from Sandia.  “Bob – this is amazing!  Sandia reported several new gravity waves with increased harmonics!   With their experimental design they anticipated maybe two or three a year and now within 24 hours they got nine!”  “Marc, just for curiosity, when did these new gravity waves show up?”  “Around 45 minutes ago, around the time Stuttgart came online”, Marc said.  “Must be a coincidence” Bob said. 
Bob thought a while and looked over MEQC metrics captured so far.  Everything was better than expected.  The lurking question was why the Q-factor was so high and increasing at the rate it was.  Several operational metrics were rolled up into Q.  They reported on the degree of stability, magnitude of coupling and coherence between the MEQC Nano-spaces.  Another factor indicated the amount of feedback control information (FCI) being exchanged between all the MEQC spaces in order to “tune” them to push up Q.  This was part of the design.   FCI was captured as a 128 bit number that crudely reflected the logarithm of the amount of tuning information being exchanged.   Bob looked at the FCI as a function of the number of nodes that had been put in service.  It was increasing much faster than anticipated. 
Bob made a decision.  “Marc, please contact the other nine sites and ask them to bring their first ten MEQC nodes online within the hour”.  “Sure Bob, my pleasure!” Marc said enthusiastically. Within 40 minutes there were 110 nodes online from around the world.  Data traffic volume picked up as expected.  Q-factor sharpened and was much higher than expected.   FCI went up a couple orders of magnitude.  Overall, Bob was pleased.  The MEQC network was stable and coherency had improved. 
Shortly after, Marc announced “Good God, Sandia just reported a whole sea of gravity waves.  Completely unexpected and at a scale that would be associated with a collision of multiple black holes! What the hell is going on”?!  Now Bob was concerned.  Too much of a coincidence but hard to see how what Sandia was measuring could have anything to do with his MEQC network.   There really was no correlation.
Bob decided to have all 1000 nodes come online.  While they were coming up, Sandia reported increasing frequencies of gravity waves.  MEQC Q kept rising as more nodes came online with FCI going up at an alarming rate.  Bob started to sweat.  Q and FCI seemed to imply that there were an astounding number of nodes exchanging information.  What could account for that?  Then he thought of the possibility suggested by quantum string physics – parallel universes.  What if it was true?  What if MEQC was entangling MEQC nodes in other universes with ours?!  Information equals energy and...
Bob cried out to Marc “Oh my God kill the sys

About the Author: 
John Fikus holds a Ph.D. in Materials Science from UVA. He worked for Bell Labs for 25 years. He now works for MITRE Corporation as an Analyst on communications systems supporting the US Army.

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Quantum Theories

X is for ... X-ray

In 1923 Arthur Compton shone X-rays onto a block of graphite and found that they bounced off with their energy reduced exactly as would be expected if they were composed of particles colliding with electrons in the graphite. This was the first indication of radiation’s particle-like nature.

V is for ... Virtual particles

Quantum theory’s uncertainty principle says that since not even empty space can have zero energy, the universe is fizzing with particle-antiparticle pairs that pop in and out of existence. These “virtual” particles are the source of Hawking radiation.

I is for ... Information

Many researchers working in quantum theory believe that information is the most fundamental building block of reality.

O is for ... Objective reality

Niels Bohr, one of the founding fathers of quantum physics, said there is no such thing as objective reality. All we can talk about, he said, is the results of measurements we make.

T is for ... Tunnelling

This happens when quantum objects “borrow” energy in order to bypass an obstacle such as a gap in an electrical circuit. It is possible thanks to the uncertainty principle, and enables quantum particles to do things other particles can’t.

F is for ... Free Will

Ideas at the heart of quantum theory, to do with randomness and the character of the molecules that make up the physical matter of our brains, lead some researchers to suggest humans can’t have free will.

E is for ... Entanglement

When two quantum objects interact, the information they contain becomes shared. This can result in a kind of link between them, where an action performed on one will affect the outcome of an action performed on the other. This “entanglement” applies even if the two particles are half a universe apart.

C is for ... Cryptography

People have been hiding information in messages for millennia, but the quantum world provides a whole new way to do it.

G is for ... Gluon

These elementary particles hold together the quarks that lie at the heart of matter.

A is for ... Atom

This is the basic building block of matter that creates the world of chemical elements – although it is made up of more fundamental particles.

S is for ... Schrödinger’s Cat

A hypothetical experiment in which a cat kept in a closed box can be alive and dead at the same time – as long as nobody lifts the lid to take a look.

J is for ... Josephson Junction

This is a narrow constriction in a ring of superconductor. Current can only move around the ring because of quantum laws; the apparatus provides a neat way to investigate the properties of quantum mechanics.

N is for ... Nonlocality

When two quantum particles are entangled, it can also be said they are “nonlocal”: their physical proximity does not affect the way their quantum states are linked.

K is for ... Kaon

These are particles that carry a quantum property called strangeness. Some fundamental particles have the property known as charm!

Z is for ... Zero-point energy

Even at absolute zero, the lowest temperature possible, nothing has zero energy. In these conditions, particles and fields are in their lowest energy state, with an energy proportional to Planck’s constant.

G is for ... Gravity

Our best theory of gravity no longer belongs to Isaac Newton. It’s Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity. There’s just one problem: it is incompatible with quantum theory. The effort to tie the two together provides the greatest challenge to physics in the 21st century.

Y is for ... Young's Double Slit Experiment

In 1801, Thomas Young proved light was a wave, and overthrew Newton’s idea that light was a “corpuscle”.

I is for ... Interferometer

Some of the strangest characteristics of quantum theory can be demonstrated by firing a photon into an interferometer: the device’s output is a pattern that can only be explained by the photon passing simultaneously through two widely-separated slits.

C is for ... Computing

The rules of the quantum world mean that we can process information much faster than is possible using the computers we use now.

A is for ... Alice and Bob

In quantum experiments, these are the names traditionally given to the people transmitting and receiving information. In quantum cryptography, an eavesdropper called Eve tries to intercept the information.

S is for ... Superposition

Quantum objects can exist in two or more states at once: an electron in superposition, for example, can simultaneously move clockwise and anticlockwise around a ring-shaped conductor.

W is for ... Wave-particle duality

It is possible to describe an atom, an electron, or a photon as either a wave or a particle. In reality, they are both: a wave and a particle.

Q is for ... Quantum biology

A new and growing field that explores whether many biological processes depend on uniquely quantum processes to work. Under particular scrutiny at the moment are photosynthesis, smell and the navigation of migratory birds.

Q is for ... Qubit

One quantum bit of information is known as a qubit (pronounced Q-bit). The ability of quantum particles to exist in many different states at once means a single quantum object can represent multiple qubits at once, opening up the possibility of extremely fast information processing.

R is for ... Reality

Since the predictions of quantum theory have been right in every experiment ever done, many researchers think it is the best guide we have to the nature of reality. Unfortunately, that still leaves room for plenty of ideas about what reality really is!

L is for ... Large Hadron Collider (LHC)

At CERN in Geneva, Switzerland, this machine is smashing apart particles in order to discover their constituent parts and the quantum laws that govern their behaviour.

S is for ... Schrödinger Equation

This is the central equation of quantum theory, and describes how any quantum system will behave, and how its observable qualities are likely to manifest in an experiment.

U is for ... Universe

To many researchers, the universe behaves like a gigantic quantum computer that is busy processing all the information it contains.

P is for ... Probability

Quantum mechanics is a probabilistic theory: it does not give definite answers, but only the probability that an experiment will come up with a particular answer. This was the source of Einstein’s objection that God “does not play dice” with the universe.

W is for ... Wavefunction

The mathematics of quantum theory associates each quantum object with a wavefunction that appears in the Schrödinger equation and gives the probability of finding it in any given state.

D is for ... Decoherence

Unless it is carefully isolated, a quantum system will “leak” information into its surroundings. This can destroy delicate states such as superposition and entanglement.

L is for ... Light

We used to believe light was a wave, then we discovered it had the properties of a particle that we call a photon. Now we know it, like all elementary quantum objects, is both a wave and a particle!

M is for ... Multiverse

Our most successful theories of cosmology suggest that our universe is one of many universes that bubble off from one another. It’s not clear whether it will ever be possible to detect these other universes.

M is for ... Many Worlds Theory

Some researchers think the best way to explain the strange characteristics of the quantum world is to allow that each quantum event creates a new universe.

A is for ... Act of observation

Some people believe this changes everything in the quantum world, even bringing things into existence.

B is for ... Bose-Einstein Condensate (BEC)

At extremely low temperatures, quantum rules mean that atoms can come together and behave as if they are one giant super-atom.

D is for ... Dice

Albert Einstein decided quantum theory couldn’t be right because its reliance on probability means everything is a result of chance. “God doesn’t play dice with the world,” he said.

T is for ... Teleportation

Quantum tricks allow a particle to be transported from one location to another without passing through the intervening space – or that’s how it appears. The reality is that the process is more like faxing, where the information held by one particle is written onto a distant particle.

B is for ... Bell's Theorem

In 1964, John Bell came up with a way of testing whether quantum theory was a true reflection of reality. In 1982, the results came in – and the world has never been the same since!

P is for ... Planck's Constant

This is one of the universal constants of nature, and relates the energy of a single quantum of radiation to its frequency. It is central to quantum theory and appears in many important formulae, including the Schrödinger Equation.

R is for ... Radioactivity

The atoms of a radioactive substance break apart, emitting particles. It is impossible to predict when the next particle will be emitted as it happens at random. All we can do is give the probability that any particular atom will have decayed by a given time.

H is for ... Hawking Radiation

In 1975, Stephen Hawking showed that the principles of quantum mechanics would mean that a black hole emits a slow stream of particles and would eventually evaporate.

U is for ... Uncertainty Principle

One of the most famous ideas in science, this declares that it is impossible to know all the physical attributes of a quantum particle or system simultaneously.

H is for ... Hidden Variables

One school of thought says that the strangeness of quantum theory can be put down to a lack of information; if we could find the “hidden variables” the mysteries would all go away.

R is for ... Randomness

Unpredictability lies at the heart of quantum mechanics. It bothered Einstein, but it also bothers the Dalai Lama.