Algorithmic Information, Induction and Observers in Physics

Conference Date: 
Monday, April 9, 2018 (All day) to Friday, April 13, 2018 (All day)
Scientific Areas: 
Quantum Foundations


Our universe is of astonishing simplicity: almost all physical observations can in principle be described by a few theories that have short mathematical descriptions. But there is a field of computer science which quantifies simplicity, namely algorithmic information theory (AIT). In this workshop, we will discuss emerging connections between AIT and physics, some of which have recently shown up in fields like quantum information theory and thermodynamics. In particular, AIT and physics share one goal: namely, to predict future observations given previous data. In fact, there exists a gold standard of prediction in AIT called Solomonoff induction which is also applied in artificial intelligence. This motivates us to look at a broader question: what is the role of induction in physics? For example, can quantum states be understood as Bayesian states of belief? Can physics be understood as a computation in some sense? What is the role of the observer, i.e. the agent that is supposed to perform the predictions? These and related topics will be discussed by a diverse group of researchers from different disciplines.

  • Larissa Albantakis, University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • Hans Briefel, University of Innsbruck
  • Caslav Brukner, Institute for Quantum Optics and Quantum Information, Vienna
  • Gemma de las Cuevas, Innsbruck University
  • Dominic Horsman, Durham University
  • Dominik Janzing, Max Planck Institute
  • Ryszard Kostecki, University of Warsaw
  • Wayner Myrvold, University of Western Ontario
  • Rudiger Shack, Royal Holloway University of London
  • Tom Sterkenburg, Munich Center for Mathematical Philosophy
  • Stefan Wolf, Universit della Svizzera italiana

Scientific Organizers:

  • Michael Cuffaro, Rotman Institute of Philosophy & Munich Center for Mathematical Philosophy
  • Markus Mueller, Perimeter Institute & Institute for Quantum Optics and Quantum Information, Vienna
  • Ana Belen Sainz, Perimeter Institute