Quantum Foundations

This series consists of talks in the area of Foundations of Quantum Theory. Seminar and group meetings will alternate.

Seminar Series Events/Videos

Currently there are no upcoming talks in this series.

 

Monday Apr 12, 2010
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One might have hoped that philosophers had sorted out what ‘truth’ is supposed to be by now. After all, Aristotle offered what seems to be a clear and simple characterization in his Metaphysics. So perhaps it is surprising (and then again perhaps it isn’t), that contemporary philosophers have not settled on a consensus regarding the nature of truth to this day.

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Tuesday Mar 30, 2010
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Our starting point is a particular `canvas' aimed to `draw' theories of physics, which has symmetric monoidal categories as its mathematical backbone. With very little structural effort (i.e. in very abstract terms) and in a very short time this categorical quantum mechanics research program has reproduced a surprisingly large fragment of quantum theory. Philosophically speaking, this framework shifts the conceptual focus from `material carriers' such as particles, fields, or other

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Tuesday Mar 16, 2010
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The Wheeler delayed choice experiment, Elitzur-Vaidman interaction-free measurement, and Hosten-Kwiat counterfactual computation will be discussed to answer Bohr's forbidden question: "Where is a quantum particle while it is inside a Mach-Zehnder Interferometer?". I will argue that the naive application of Wheeler's approach fails to explain a weak trace left by the particle and that the two-state vector description is required.

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Tuesday Mar 09, 2010
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In the Scholium in Newton's Principia which contains the discussions about absolute space, time, and the bucket experiment, Newton also posed a problem that Julian Barbour has denoted the "Scholium problem". Newton writes there "But how are we to obtain the true motions from their causes, effects, and apparent differences, and the converse, shall be explained more at large in the following treatise. For to this end it was that I composed it". This problem was clearly considered very important by Newton who claims he wrote the Principia dedicated to this problem.

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Thursday Feb 04, 2010
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In this talk, I will demonstrate that correlations inconsistent with any locally causal description can be a generic feature of measurements on entangled quantum states. Specifically, spatially-separated parties who perform local measurements on a maximally-entangled state using randomly chosen measurement bases can, with significant probability, generate nonclassical correlations that violate a Bell inequality. For n parties using a Greenberger-Horne-Zeilinger state, this probability of violation rapidly tends to unity as the number of parties increases.

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Tuesday Feb 02, 2010
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How can we describe a device that takes two unknown operational boxes
and conditionally on some input variable connects them in different
orders? In order to answer this question, I will introduce maps from
transformations to transformations within operational probabilistic
theories with purification, and show their characterisation in terms
of operational circuits. I will then proceed exploring the hierarchy
of maps on maps. A particular family of maps in the hierarchy are the

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Tuesday Feb 02, 2010
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In this talk I will report on a recent work [arXiv:0908.1583], which investigates general probabilistic theories where every mixed state has a purification, unique up to reversible channels on the purifying system. The purification principle is equivalent to the existence of a reversible realization for every physical process, namely that to the fact that every physical process can be regarded as arising from the reversible interaction of the input system with an environment that is eventually discarded.

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Monday Dec 07, 2009
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CMB measurements reveal a very smooth early universe. We propose a mech- anism to make this smoothness natural by weakening the strength of gravity at early times, and therefore altering which initial conditions have low entropy.

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Tuesday Dec 01, 2009
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For a quantum system with a d-dimensional Hilbert space, a symmetric informationally complete measurement (SIC) can be thought of as a set of d^2 pure states all having the same overlap. Constructions of SICs for composite systems usually do not make use of the composite structure but treat the system as a whole. Indeed for some cases, one can prove that a SIC cannot have the symmetry that one naturally associates with the composite structure.

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Tuesday Nov 17, 2009
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In his brilliant article "Against 'Measurement'", John Bell famously
argued that the word has had such a damaging effect on the discussion,
that it should now be banned altogether in quantum mechanics. But in
the beginning was the word, and the word is still with us. Indeed,
David Mermin responded In Praise of Measurement that within the field
of quantum computer science the concept of measurement is precisely
defined, unproblematic, and forms the foundation of the entire
subject, a verdict reaffirmed by the development of measurement-based

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