When two heavy ions collide inside a particle accelerator, they produce a near-perfect fluid through which an assortment of fundamental particles swim. For scientists to accurately simulate even a tiny drop of this hot and dense subatomic brew with a classical computer, it would take longer than the age of the universe. Scientists show how quantum computing could be a game-changer in our understanding of quantum processes.
This March, scientists from around the world gathered in LaThuile, Italy, for the 53rd annual Recontres de Moriond conference, one of the longest running and most prestigious conferences in particle physics. This conference is broken into two distinct weeks, with the first week usually covering electroweak physics and the second covering processes involving quantum chromodynamics. Fermilab and the LHC Physics Center were well represented at the conference.
During the last four years, LHC scientists have filled in gaps in our knowledge and tested the boundaries of the Standard Model. Since the start of Run II in March 2015, they’ve recorded an incredible amount of data —five times more than the LHC produced in Run I. The accelerator produced approximately 16 million billion proton-proton collisions — about one collision for every ant currently living on Earth.