Data Teleportation

By Ross Little

Originally published in EUG #41

Reading the comments about the reliability of the menu retrieving the right files (or not, as the case may be) and the spelling of the EUG letters and articles, I do agree it would be nice to have a proof reader if it were possible. It's a shame when such good work goes to waste.

And the teleporting data thing. I heard about that too, a fair while ago. The crucial difference is that radio waves (and therefore data or information) travel at around the speed of light. This means that data can never be teleported from one place to another instantaneously through radio. However, quantum theory suggests that some particles, for short periods of time, can break the light barrier (which is, theoretically, the fastest speed attainable in the Universe). This is due to the random nature of sub-atomic particles: basically, they won't always obey the laws of physics (everything goes crazy when you do down there). So, if you could harness these particules, which are travelling faster than the speed of light and therefore backwards in time, you could, theoretically, use them to carry information. Now the backwards bit is mainly a theoretical point. If some information is transmitted and travels backwards in time it can reach the receiver at the same time as when it was transmitted, so long as the receiver was there at that time.

That's the theory anyway. And it has, supposedly, been achieved. I think it was part of the 1812 Overture which was supposed to have been transmitted, and received (rather noisily), at the same time in the lab. But it was suggested that music did not constitute information and therefore it was a misleading experiment. I don't quite understand how music is anything other than data or information, but I'm more concerned with whether the claims are reliable or even a hoax. But big things are possible. The same thing can be done, theoretically, with matter itself, of course, but these are only individual particles and for a human, or anything on our scale, to be transmitted it would have to be separated particule by particle and then reconstituted. I find it difficult to believe this could be achieved. Even if it could, it could not be used to go further back than the time it was invented, but instant teleportation of humans would be possible. Incidentally, if you're the kind of person who believes those kinds of things must have been done by someone, do some reading on the Philadelphia Experiment of 1941. It sounds spurious to me but it was supposed to have the same secrecy rating as the nuclear bomb - and how fictional would that have sounded at the time?

The other thing which quantum theory allows for is the idea of twinned particles. These are particles which are created together (I think) and will therefore remain intertwined for as long as they exist. Then, when they are separated (even to the other side of the Universe) one particle will be affected by changes on the other. So, if I store my data in some kind of binary code (like on a computer) I can then manipulate each particle in my box of particules to represent this data. The other particles, however distant, will then change in exactly the same way and the information can be read. We then have instant data transmission whch could never be intercepted because they are the only linked transmitter/receivers in the entire Universe! That sounds a bit more practical then the experiment above so we'll see what happens in a few decades' time. Perhaps the instant 'sub-space' communications of sci-fi will be with us.

Enough of my drivel.

Ross Little

As I've said before, proof reading is a bit like quantum theory: a good idea but in practice...

Gus Donnachaidh, EUG #40