VISUAL: Fade up from black to an animation of the universe spinning and zooming into a galaxy at the center of the image.
Narrator: THEY EXIST AS THE TINIEST PARTS OF ALL OF US ... EVERYTHING ON EARTH ... AND ALL MATTER IN THE UNIVERSE ... YET IN SOME WAYS, THEY ARE MORE DIFFICULT TO STUDY THAN GALAXIES BILLIONS OF LIGHT YEARS AWAY.
VISUAL: Dissolve to animation of atom with red protons and blue neutrons at its center. Yellow electrons spin around the atom's nucleus with the tracks of their orbits visible.
Narrator: SUBATOMIC PARTICLES ... THEY ARE THE COMPONENTS THAT MAKE UP ATOMS ... INCLUDING PROTONS, NEUTRONS AND ELECTRONS ...
VISUAL: Dissolve to computer model of an atom showing a cloud of multicolored subatomic particles surrounding it.
Narrator: ... AS WELL AS OTHER TINY UNITS SUCH AS QUARKS, PHOTONS AND NEUTRINOS.
VISUAL: Cut to NIST physicist Stephen Jordan with animation of stars and galaxies in the background. As he speaks, the starfield bursts in a bright red explosion.
Stephen Jordan: "Exploring the way these particles interact ... especially during collisions ... can help us understand the inner workings of the universe ... even back to the Big Bang."
VISUAL: Cut to animation showing view down the tube of a particle accelerator. Switch to scenes from the Large Hadron Collider including a researcher sitting in the control room. As Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider is mentioned, a still image of the device is seen.
Narrator: TO DO THESE STUDIES ... SCIENTISTS CURRENTLY USE GIANT PARTICLE ACCELERATORS LIKE THE LARGE HADRON COLLIDER IN SWITZERLAND OR THE RELATIVISTIC HEAVY ION COLLIDER IN NEW YORK.
VISUAL: Dissolve to animation of subatomic particles colliding in an accelerator.
Narrator: BUT THE SCIENCE DOESN'T COME EASILY ...
VISUAL: Aerial view of a particle accelerator facility with the circular outline of the device visible on the ground to show how large it is.
Narrator: WHILE ACCELERATORS YIELD VALUABLE RESULTS ... THEIR SIZE LIMITS WHERE THEY CAN BE BUILT ...
VISUAL: Video of researchers adjusting a particle accelerator, followed by a computer visualization of subatomic particles surrounding an atom. This appears as a sphere with multicolored spikes radiating from it.
Narrator: THEY'RE EXPENSIVE TO OPERATE ... AND IT MAY REQUIRE YEARS OF COLLISIONS TO GATHER ENOUGH DATA TO PROPERLY STUDY A PARTICLE.
VISUAL: Dissolve to white board as complex physics formulas appear upon it.
Narrator: WHAT WAS NEEDED WAS A VIRTUAL MEANS OF STUDYING COLLISIONS TO COMPLEMENT AND SUPPORT THE ACCELERATOR DATA.
VISUAL: Cover of the June 1, 2012, Science magazine appears.
Narrator: THE ANSWER ... AS REPORTED IN THE JOURNAL SCIENCE ... WAS TO CREATE A SPECIAL MATHEMATICAL ALGORITHM.
VISUAL: Cut to Caltech physicist John Preskill on camera.
John Preskill: "Our algorithm simulates a collision between particles at very high energy on a computer. The algorithm can be run over and over again many times collecting data very much like the data that would be obtained in an accelerator experiment."
VISUAL: Dissolve to physicist (Stephen Jordan) with back turned to camera writing complex formulas on a white board at a slightly faster-than-normal speed. Dissolve through to graphic showing multiple layers of data being processed.
Narrator: HOWEVER ... SUCH COMPLEX CALCULATIONS REQUIRE TREMENDOUS COMPUTING POWER ... EVEN GREATER THAN THAT POSSIBLE FROM THE BEST SUPERCOMPUTERS.
VISUAL: Cut to video showing a room dominated by a computer mainframe.
Narrator: SO ... THE RESEARCHERS DESIGNED THEIR ALGORITHM TO RUN ON A QUANTUM COMPUTER ...
VISUAL: Cut to animation of a computer microchip with the numbers "1" and "0" streaming out of it.
Narrator: ... A DEVICE WHERE THE "ONES" AND "ZEROS" USED BY DIGITAL COMPUTERS TO SELECT BETWEEN TWO CHOICES ARE REPLACED BY SUBATOMIC QUANTUM STATES.
VISUAL: Cut to animation showing artist's conceptions of qubits in action. This is represented by gold spheres moving across a data network grid.
Narrator: THESE QUANTUM BITS ... OR QUBITS AS THEY'RE CALLED ... CAN SIMULTANEOUSLY REPRESENT ALL POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS TO A PROBLEM.
VISUAL: Cut to animation showing a screen with multiple streams of data being processed including green waves, numbers and text.
Narrator: UNFORTUNATELY ... A PRACTICAL QUANTUM COMPUTER IS AT LEAST A DECADE AWAY.
VISUAL: Same animation as before with the addition of large streams of data flowing in front of the data seen previously.
Narrator: THE GOOD NEWS IS THAT WHEN THAT DAY DOES ARRIVE ... THE QUANTUM COMPUTER WILL HAVE A POWERFUL TOOL ON HAND THAT IT CAN PUT RIGHT TO WORK.
VISUAL: Dissolve to Stephen Jordan, with his back to the camera, writing complex formulas on a white board. Jordan then appears on camera to speak to the audience as his "twin" continues writing.
Jordan: "We don't have quantum computers yet but we already have an understanding about the general features of how they will work, and our algorithm is designed based only on those general features. So it should be able to run on any quantum computer regardless of the details of the hardware."
VISUAL: Cut to animation of atom spinning, followed by dissolve to animation showing movement through the universe.
Narrator: NOT ONLY WILL WE GAIN A RICHER KNOWLEDGE OF HOW SUBATOMIC PARTICLES INTERACT ... BUT WE MAY EVEN BEGIN TO DEFINE THE FUNDAMENTAL PROPERTIES OF PHYSICS DRIVING THE UNIVERSE.
VISUAL: Dissolve to credits (six pages). Text on screens read as follows:
For more information
This video highlights work presented in:
"Quantum Algorithms for Quantum Field Theories"
Science, Volume 336, June 1, 2012
Stephen P. Jordan, National Institute of Standards and Technology
Keith S. M. Lee, University of Pittsburgh
John Preskill, California Institute of Technology
Still images, animations and video used with permission by:
American Association for the Advancement of Science
Brookhaven National Laboratory, U.S. Department of Energy
CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research
European Space Agency/Hubble
Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, U.S. Department of Energy
The production team wishes to thank
Lawren Markle and Sonia Chernobieff
Caltech Office of Marketing & Communications
for their help in the making of this video
NIST Production Staff
Scriptwriter: Chad Boutin
Producer/Scriptwriter: Michael E. Newman
Producer/Video/Editor: Leon Gerskovic
Emilie de Azevedo
National Institute of Standards and Technology
Public Affairs Office
The display of products and services in this program is for demonstration purposes only
and does not imply an endorsement by NIST.
VISUAL: Fade to black.
Helping Quantum Computers Study the Physics of the Universe--descriptive text
Created May 31, 2012, Updated September 21, 2016