A pair of physicists sleep a lot easier at night now that they’ve shown that quantum weirdness involving twists in space-time can’t conceivably be simulated, adding to a list of problems that The Matrix would have no answer for.
They’re not particular to quantum physics, but they are useful for turning the fuzzy world of maybes into something a bit more predictable. For the most part they can help make short work of certain many-body problems – systems involving multiple quantum objects moving about through various dimensions. Quantum Monte Carlo simulations are by no means perfect, though.
That’s the question Ringel and Kovrizhin were tackling; is there some sort of barrier to finding a sign-free way of applying Monte Carlo simulations to certain quantum systems?
Should there be an obstacle, it means classical computers could never solve the underlying mathematics to represent what we’re observing in quantum mechanics.
Physicists have pointed out that quantum physics makes this incredibly unlikely, given electrons and atoms aren’t tiny balls whizzing predictably through space.