Quantum Computing with Many World Interpretation Scopes and Challenges

Probably you know the concept of many world interpretation of quantum mechanics. In this article, we will explain how this concept can be used in quantum computing.

Many scientist believe that Many World Interpretation (MWI) of quantum mechanics is self-evidently absurd for quantum computing. However, recently, there are many groups of scientist increasingly believing that MWI has the real future in quantum computing, because MWI can provide true quantum parallelism.  Here, I briefly discuss the scopes and challenges of MWI for future quantum computing for exploration into the deeper aspects of qubits and quantum computing with MWI. 

Quantum Computing with Many World Interpretation

This tutorial is for the researchers, volunteers and students of the Compassionate AI Lab for understanding the deeper aspects of quantum computing for implementing large-scale compassionate artificial intelligence projects. 

The heart of Copenhagen interpretation based quantum computing is wave function collapse. However, the Copenhagen interpretation fails to specify precisely where and how the collapses occurs and is therefore an imprecise theory. Moreover, the exact collapse mechanism is not scientifically well defined. But the beauty of Copenhagen interpretation is that “it works” and it makes no unnecessary assumptions. According to the Copenhagen interpretation there is no “game” only the result is real – the physical reality is a result of the collapse of the wave function as a “local” manifestation of the non-local wave-function. However, wave function collapse is widely regarded as artificial and adhoc.

On the other hand, MWI removed the wave function collapse theory and focused on quantum parallelism thesis (QPT). It states that none of the quantum states vanishes at all, except to our perception. It says, in essence, let’s just do away with wave function collapse altogether. The entire universe (all the universes together) is described by a gigantic wave function that contains within it all possible realities. This wave function is known as “universal wave function”. The universe is a single reality. It hypothesized that, at the quantum level, whenever the universe is confronted with a choice of paths, reality splits into branches and both choices or paths happen simultaneously.

1. Many Worlds Interpretation Basics

In 1957, Hugh Everett proposes, Many Worlds Interpretation (MWI) of quantum theories. According to this theory,  the famous Schrödinger’s cat is alive in one world and is dead in another world.  In MWI Everett, avoids the issue of wave function collapse. MWI from the assumption that the universal wave function is a superposition of an extraordinarily large set of real, existing worlds. MWI applies the entire mathematical apparatus of quantum mechanics to the universe, whereas the wave function collapse theories are essentially limited to the microscopic domain. MWI framework can provide simultaneous access to many computational worlds. 

Everett suggests that, when a measurement is made for a system in which the wave function is a mixture of states, the universe branches into a number of non-interacting universes. Each of the possible outcomes of the measurement occurs, but in a different universe. Particles are entangled, space and time become one, and information exists simultaneously across multiple, or infinite universes. 

According to the MWI, Schrödinger equation applies at all times. In other words, that the wave function of the Universe never collapses. Hence, MWI is also known as collapse-free quantum theory.  There is only one wave function, and it evolves smoothly and deterministically over time without any kind of splitting or parallelism. MWI removes the observer-dependent role in the quantum measurement process by replacing wavefunction collapse with quantum decoherence. Decoherence shows how a macroscopic system interact with many microscopic systems. Here, all components of the wave function still exist in a global superposition. 

Many World Interpretation and Copenhagen Interpretation

Everett’s many-worlds interpretation posited no collapse. Instead, probabilities bifurcate at the moment of measurement into parallel universes. Although an infinite number of un-testable universes seems unscientific to some, many physicists today view the theory as very important. For example, Tegmark called the many worlds interpretation “one of the most important discoveries of all time in science.” 

2. Limitations of Bohr’s Copenhagen Interpretation

Copenhagen interpretation holds that physical systems have only probabilities, rather than specific properties, until they’re measured. In Schrödinger’s thought experiment, a cat in a box is both dead and alive until it is seen. In Bohr’s words, the wave and particle pictures, or the visual and causal representations, are “complementary” to each other. That is, they are mutually exclusive, yet jointly essential for a complete description of quantum events.

The wave function is a complete description of the quantum state of a particle, and the Schrödinger equation describes the behavior of the wave function in space and time. The Schrödinger equation is a mathematical “wave equation,” i.e. a second-order linear partial differential equation. The set of all possible wave functions forms an abstract mathematical vector space called a “Hilbert space.” 

Paul Dirac famously proposed adding a postulate to the quantum mechanical framework that “a measurement always causes a system to jump into an eigenstate of the observed quantity.”  However, where and at what point the system “jumps” into an eigenstate – is entirely ambiguous with no scientifically precise definition. Max Born suggested, the square of the absolute value of the wave (ψ) function expresses a probability amplitude for the outcome of a measurement. Why the probability amplitude be square, not something else, it is not scientifically very well defined.

Einstein, however, persistently argued that the Copenhagen interpretation was incomplete. He conjectured that there might be hidden variables or processes underlying quantum phenomena; or perhaps ‘pilot waves’, proposed by de Broglie, govern the behaviour of particles.

David Bohm also argued that particles in quantum systems existed whether observed or not, and that they have predictable positions and motions determined by pilot waves. John Bell then showed that Einstein’s concerns about locality and incompleteness in the Copenhagen interpretation were valid. It was he who refuted von Neumann’s proof by revealing that it ruled out only a narrow class of hidden-variables theories.

3. Many-World Interpretation and Branches: 

The many-worlds interpretation is DeWitt’s popularisation of Everett’s work. The combined observer–object system as being split by an observation, each split corresponding to the different or multiple possible outcomes of an observation. These splits generate a possible tree and branches.

There are two versions of observer, one who has seen a dead cat, and the other who has seen an alive cat. These two versions cannot interact with each other, and will never be able to know of the other’s existence. When one observer open the box we say that the universe “branches.” Initially there was just one cat. But after the radioactive decay and cyanide release the universe branched into two “sub-universes”, one containing the dead cat and the other one containing the alive cat. These sub-universes are called branches, but they are also popularly termed “worlds”, hence the theory being called many worlds theory. 

4. Many World Interpretation Model

Many-worlds,  views reality as a many-branched tree, wherein every possible quantum outcome can be realized. There are several versions of many-world interpretations. The existence of the other worlds makes it possible to remove randomness and action at a distance from quantum theory and thus from all physics. Here, a world is the totality of macroscopic objects such as: qubits, gates, stars, cities, people, grains of sand, etc. in a definite classically described state. In MWI, an “observer” has no special status and so there is no such thing as a wave collapse. MWI is based on the simple assumption that the entire universe can be modeled by a universal wave function that obeys a deterministic wave equation. 




Many World Interpretation Branches

5. Quantum Parallelism and Many World Interpretation

The power of the new quantum computing model derives from a presumption that it is possible to store and simultaneously manipulate an exponentially-large amount of information in a quantum register. A quantum system of n particles defines an exponential 2n number of states, it appears that a small amount of computational hardware can behave like a classical parallel computer with an exponential number of processors.

Quantum parallelism arises from the ability of a quantum memory register to exist in a superposition of base states. A quantum memory register can exist in a superposition of states, each component of this superposition may be thought of as a single argument to a function. A function performed on the register in a superposition of states is thus performed on each of the components of the superposition, but this function is only applied one time.

Quantum mechanics imposes a significant restriction: the transformations applied to the quantum register must be unitary. This is necessary because a non-unitary operator is equivalent to performing a measurement and thus will cause a collapse of the superposition.The main idea is that when quantum computers are performing a transition taking as input a superposition of states, like for example the following n qubit register is

they gain access to many computational worlds—each associated to every possible value of |Xi>—and they are actually performing many simultaneous transitions on each and every one of those states that are part of the superposition. The transition is real in the sense that it is performed in all the different worlds, to which the computation process gain access. The  formal represented by the so called Quantum Parallelism is as follows:

6. Implementation of Quantum Computing with MWI

Standard quantum computing models are based on the paradigm of quantum logic networks, where a sequence of unitary quantum gates form the computational circuit. The key requirements for efficient quantum computing are long coherence time, high scalability, high fault tolerance, ability to initialize qubits, universal quantum gatesefficient qubit state measurement capability, and faithful transmission of flying qubits.  There are several architectures for implementing quantum computing. Cluster-state quantum computer is one of the key candidate model to run many worlds explanation of quantum computation. The cluster-state quantum computer (QCC) is a universal quantum computer; it can efficiently simulate any algorithm developed within the network model.

An alternative model of circuit model, for scalable quantum computing in which a specific form of a highly entangled multiparticle state, called a cluster state, plays the pivotal role of being a universal resource for quantum computation. To perform a quantum algorithm with a cluster state, individual qubits are measured in a temporal sequence of adaptive single-qubit measurements with classical feed-forward processing of outcomes.  

7. Conclusion:

Quantum parallelism offers a more powerful computational framework than the classical computers. Here, we reviewed quantum parallelism with MWI framework. Measurement is the key issue in implementing MWI in quantum computing. MWI is not a science fiction, but a powerful framework for implementing quantum computational processes.  Moreover, providing a quantum algorithm that unambiguously exploits quantum parallelism of MWI would of course settle many unsolved questions of MWI, but it must stand up under a rigorous complexity analysis. Developing MWI for quantum computing has many computational advantages but its implementation is a challenging task. In the next article we will discuss more about the qubits and implementation issues with MWI. 

Source Books:

  1. Compassionate Artificial Intelligence: Frameworks and Algorithms by Dr. Amit Ray
  2. Compassionate Superintelligence, AI 5.0 by Dr. Amit Ray
  3. Quantum Computing Algorithms for Artificial Intelligence By Dr. Amit Ray


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Ray, Amit. (2019). Quantum Computing with Many World Interpretation Scopes and Challenges. [online] www.amitray.com. 2019 Jan 30 Available at: https://amitray.com/quantum-computing-with-many-world-interpretation-scopes-and-challenges/ [Accessed 19-Sep-2021]


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Ray, Amit. Quantum Computing with Many World Interpretation Scopes and Challenges. www.amitray.com. 2019 Jan 30, https://amitray.com/quantum-computing-with-many-world-interpretation-scopes-and-challenges/ Accessed 19-Sep-2021


Ray, Amit. "Quantum Computing with Many World Interpretation Scopes and Challenges." www.amitray.com. https://amitray.com/quantum-computing-with-many-world-interpretation-scopes-and-challenges/ Accessed 19-Sep-2021