Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Quantum Experiment Threat Modeling

I'm enjoying Jonathan Dowling's "Schrödinger's Killer App: Race to Build the World's First Quantum Computer" and it's interesting to read as he describes physicists eliminating not only random errors to their experiments to prove quantum effects versus hidden local variables, but even imagining intelligent, malicious ones.

Most of these are of the form of fairies communicating at the speed of light representing worse-case real world effects that could be causing incorrect conclusions to the experiment, but on page 70, he describes the "Post-experiment computer infestation loophole" in which the computer collecting data for the experiment has been maliciously altered to change collected data but leave no other trace. He concludes that under this circumstance: "the scientific method fails us and we have no choice but to ignore such a possibility."

Ah, to be a physicist :-)