End-User Agreement

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QUANTUM SHORTS 2017: RUNNER UP, YOUTH CATEGORY
 
 
Terry was running late when he got to the lab. As he was walking in, he checked his phone. Upon checking his email, he noticed one from FE-QuiCk.
 
Computer Delivered
Fermi Enterprises - Quantum Computing Inc.\
Your Commodore Quantum Supercomputer has been delivered. Before using it, make sure to read and agree to our Terms of Service.
Thank You
This was an automated message
Do not respo...
 
 
Terry, having nothing better to do until his elevator arrived, decided to check out the Terms of Service.
 
End-User License Agreement
Last updated: November 29, 2043
This End-User License Agreement (EULA) is a legal contract between the user, and Fermi Enterprises - Quantum Computing Inc. (FEQC). Read it carefully before operating the Commodore Quantum Supercomputer (CQSC). Should you violate this agreement, or otherwise cause FEQC damages, we reserve the right to follow legal recourse, or spaghettify you in the company black hole. By using, the CQSC, you are agreeing to the following -
 
1 General License
1.1 Subject to your ongoing compliance to the EULA, FEQC grants general use of a CQSC. Remember, the CQSC is licensed, not sold.
1.2 The licence is non-local, and your computer may disable itself faster than the speed of light should you fail to comply with the rest of the EULA.
 
2 General License Conditions
2.1 You may not provide, make available, or otherwise grant another user access to the CQSC.
2.2 You may not modify, disassemble, or otherwise tamper with the CQSC, except when specifically instructed to do so by FEQC.
2.3 You must follow all directions given by an FEQC representative if a catastrophic event involving the CQSC occurs, or will occur. Such an event could occur if the deuterium fusion reactor melts down, the Cesium clock explodes, or the Delta-Kappa wormhole collapses.
2.4 The CQSC should be kept safe and separate from the all of the following - water, humidity, electrical surges, perchloric acid, neutrinos, proton beams, positron beams, and any high damage beam. The CQSC should also be kept away from any anti-CQSC’s, and you should avoid contact with anti-you’s. To prevent this, when not in use the CQSC should be constantly observed, to prevent virtual particles from damaging the CQSC.
2.5 The CQSC is to be used solely by you, and not to be reverse engineered, and spread. Any attempt to do so will erase the CQSC’s computing capacity, due to the no cloning theorem. Should a copy be successfully violating this theorem, you are required to contact us about the event. Any prize, Nobel or otherwise, based on this discovery is under the sole ownership of FEQC. Further, the CQSC will disable at previously mentioned speeds.
 
3 Required Operational Instructions
3.1 Prior to operation, make sure you have read the operator's manual, available at…
 
Ding. Terry lowered his phone, and stepped into the elevator. He punched the number for his lab, which was deep in the earth. And unfortunately, there were plenty of stops to make before he got there. As the doors slid shut, Terry felt dread at the thought of continuing to read the EULA, and decided to read the manual.
 
This is the manual for the Model Q-2310, Q-4300, and the Q-9009.
1 Read all instructions.
2 Do not push the large red button labeled “Push Me” under any circumstances.
 
Terry skimmed ahead. 
19 Always keep power cord straight, never let it bend, unless you have a Q-9009, which should have a coil of wire, which should never be straight.
20 When unplugging the computer, always pull from the head of the power cord. Failure to do so may lead your electrocution, damage the cord, or turn you into a being of pure energy.
21 Do not use outdoors
22 Do not use in a non-climate controlled room. The room should be kept at a constant of “uncomfortably warm,” with no humidity.
23 Always wear a lead lined hazmat suit when within 10 feet of the computer, especially if it is off.
 
Usage
 
First, plug in the machine. To run a program, insert your punch cards into the slot labeled “Punch Cards In.” Once the program has been run, it should output new punch cards out the slot labeled “Punch Cards Out.” While the computer is running make sure you do not observe the computer, as you may collapse the computer’s superpositions, voiding the warranty…
 
Terry skimmed further ahead, already familiar with working around the uncertainty principle.
 
Troubleshooting
If it does not output any cards, this is because the computer is out of punch cards, or has been caught in an infinite loop. To prevent this, the computer will produce an error message once it has reached the maximum number of computations. This maximum number is configurable, see page 72. By default, the computer will error after 4.9999976 computations….
 
Ding. Terry stepped out, and walked to his lab. Sitting in the middle of the lab were several massive boxes, with “Fermi Enterprises - Quantum Computing Inc.” stamped on them. Below this stamp was another one saying “Commodore Quantum Supercomputer, some assembly required.” Terry called his assistants to help him set it up. They suited up, and began assembling. 7 hours and a missed lunch break later, Terry set aside the unnecessary pieces, and pushed the start button. As the computer hummed to life, the machine spit out a punch card. After using the manual to translate the card from FORTRAN, he read “Do you agree to the terms and conditions of this product?”
Terry pulled out his phone, and navigated to the EULA. He opened it, and scrolled to the bottom.
 
91.6 Beware of Evil Squirrels
91.7 All work done on the Computer, and the producer, is owned by FEQC. This includes you, should you use the CQSC.
 
Do you agree to the terms and conditions outlined in this document?
 
Yes[ ]
No [ ]
 
"There are only two possibilities: yes or no," thought Terry.
Terry checked the Yes box.
About the Author: 
I am a 17 year old senior in high school in Katy, TX. When not reading about physics, I am camping with Boy Scouts or playing games with friends and family. I am hoping to study particle physics in college.
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Quantum Theories: A to Z

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.

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.

K is for ...
Kaon

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

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 and is a technology to build qubits for quantum computers.

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.

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.

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.

G is for ...
Gluon

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

A is for ...
Act of observation

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

I is for ...
Information

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

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.

R is for ...
Randomness

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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!

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.

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.

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.

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”.

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.

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.

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!

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

K is for ...
Key

Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) is a way to create secure cryptographic keys, allowing for more secure communication.

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.

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.

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.

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!

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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