String theory gets entangled in quantum computing

Researchers at Imperial College London think they have found a way to test one of the most important – and controversial ideas in theoretical physics: string theory.The team, headed by Professor Michael Duff, has drawn a parallel between the mathematics of string theory and the mathematics of quantum entanglement.

Researchers at Imperial College London think they have found a way to test one of the most important – and controversial ideas in theoretical physics: string theory.

The team, headed by Professor Michael Duff, has drawn a parallel between the mathematics of string theory and the mathematics of quantum entanglement. This means that for the first time, the 'theory of everything' might be testable in the real world, in experiments with entangled photons.

But what about turning it on its head: what could the maths of string theory do for quantum computing and quantum cryptography? Professor Duff told us that these are questions the team has been considering, but definitive answers are some way off yet.

His colleague Peter Levay has “made some progress” Duff says, relating earlier work in the same line to correcting bit-flip errors.

It remains to be seen whether applying even more complicated maths to quantum computing will help, hinder, or just mean better pay packets for maths geniuses.

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