The Quantum Processor

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Time. It always seemed to come down to time. Who could do it quicker? Who was the fastest? Do we have enough time? There are never enough hours in the day. Francine was obsessed with time and when she took on the challenge of creating a computer program that would have the fastest processing speed in the world she tackled it with a vigor and determination that few people could match. It literally consumed her every waking moment.
Her big breakthrough came about when she noticed that there was something funny about how she ‘perceived’ time. When she was in the groove, so to speak, time flew. She would look up from her work and realize that hours had passed and it only felt like a few minutes. When things were not going very well time felt like walking up hill through molasses on a cold morning. She knew of course that this was all in her head but this ‘perception’ of time was the first building block for her Eureka moment. The second building block was the hummingbird.
She was taking a break from her research and stepped out onto the small balcony of her apartment when she was assaulted by a male ruby-throated hummingbird. At first she had no idea why this little dive bomber would treat her this way and then she looked down at her t-shirt. It had a picture of a bright red cardinal flower. The poor little guy wanted nectar and was frustrated by her faux flower. She marveled at the way that it would hang in mid-air and zip around so effortlessly. She thought to herself, “I wonder how this little guy sees me. He must see me as this lumbering sloth like being that spends an eternity reacting and moving. How boring.” She smiled and then the building blocks started to come together.
OH. MY. GOD! She suddenly had the insight on how to make her computer the fastest in the world and not only that, but it was unlikely that there would ever be a faster one. Ever. Her revelation was that time is actually a scalar perception phenomena. Of course it was. It was the only thing that made any sense. How could she not have seen it before?
The measurement of the passage of time is based on a repeating rhythmic beat. The metaphor that flashed in her mind was a repeating wave form. The wave length, crest and trough were constant and steady and always repeating. But, if she changed her scale, this constant wave form changed relative to her. If she shrunk, it appeared to increase in dimensions and would appear to slow down. And vice versa if she grew, it would appear to diminish in size and would appear to increase in frequency. The application of this is what really excited her. If you looked at something at the scale of a cell and realized that time at that scale was entirely different than normal human scale you could understand how the various functions of the organelles in a cell could do millions of actions and reactions in a single second.
But if she didn’t stop there and continued down to the quantum level. OH. MY. GOD!!! At first, she thought it would be impossible. You could not reduce the scale of a computer or even a microchip down to that level because of the mass. But the thing was, data had no mass. It finally dawned on her that she could reduce the processing system to one that used tachyons for representing code in the form of algorithms. You could feed the problem down to a quantum processor at normal speed, let the program run and it would spit it back up to you at normal speed. But the time it took to actually solve the problem would be reduced by a factor of over 100 million.
Once she had her Tachyon Processor built the first thing she needed to do was run a test. What would be a good one? The first thing that came to mind was solving for Pi. At the very least she would set a new record for decimal places. Once she started the processor and fed in the data and the algorithm she waited for the results. Nothing happened. It just sat there but the lights indicated that it was processing. Maybe she was wrong about her assumptions. One whole hour went by. Nothing. At one hour and thirty seven minutes she heard the printer starting up. The equivalent amount of computing time spent relative to the fastest computer on earth (before hers) was 18,442.467 years. The truncated report said that Pi’s digits repeated after 300 billion places and did so 3.14159 times before finally creating a finite number. Amazing.
Her next experiment however proved to be the most startling of all. Playing with Pi was fun but nothing that the scientific community would ever take seriously since the only proof was an untried and untested computer that some lowly little computer programmer built. No, she needed to test it on some formula where the answer was known and the solution time was recorded. This would be a good test and she could compare her time against the current record. She loved a good race. But what she got totally surprised her and completely unnerved her.
She set up her computer and processor and was getting ready to start the program when all of a sudden her printer was printing. And it was printing the correct answer for the problem she had yet to enter into her computer. Those darn tachyons! “Oh well,” she said, “I guess I’ll have to make a Luxon Processor.”

About the Author: 
Retired Science Teacher