Tuesday, 28 March 2006

Black holes: The ultimate quantum computers?

10:17 13 March 2006
NewScientist.com news service
Maggie McKee

Nearly all of the information that falls into a black hole escapes back out, a controversial new study argues. The work suggests that black holes could one day be used as incredibly accurate quantum computers - if enormous theoretical and practical hurdles can first be overcome.

Black holes are thought to destroy anything that crosses a point of no return around them called an "event horizon". But in the 1970s, Stephen Hawking used quantum mechanics to show black holes do emit radiation, which eventually evaporates them away completely.

Originally, he argued that this "Hawking radiation" is so random that it could carry no information out about what had fallen into the black hole. But this conflicted with quantum mechanics, which states that quantum information can never be lost. Eventually, Hawking changed his mind and in 2004 famously
conceded a bet
, admitting that black holes do not destroy information.


1 comment:

lazy said...

As a quantum computer? They are more likely to use them as vast cosmic landfills.

In sci-fi films you've got like prison planets. But what about the very first thing they're gonna use abandoned planets for? Where are the land-fill planets?

Boutique planets? Bespoke planets? Disposable planets? Where would you fit all the packaging?

If I had a black hole, I'd keep it in the cupboard under the stairs. Then when someone I didn't like dropped by, if they asked for the bathroom, I'd steer them into the cupboard.


(And if the theory is true, then there would be a quiet little "burp" of encoded morphogenetic quantum information as the door clicks to...)