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.

 

Tuesday Sep 28, 2010
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The uncertainty principle bounds the uncertainties about the outcomes of two incompatible measurements, such as position and momentum, on a particle. It implies that one cannot predict the outcomes for both possible choices of measurement to arbitrary precision, even if information about the preparation of the particle is available in a classical memory. However, if the particle is prepared entangled with a quantum memory, it is possible to predict the outcomes for both measurement choices precisely. I will explain a recent extension of the uncertainty principle to incorporate this case.

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Tuesday Sep 14, 2010
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A brief review of some recent work on the causal set approach to quantum gravity. Causal sets are a discretisation of spacetime that allow the symmetries of GR to be preserved in the continuum approximation. One proposed application of causal sets is to use them as the histories in a quantum sum-over-histories, i.e. to construct a quantum theory of spacetime. It is expected by many that quantum gravity will introduce some kind of fuzziness uncertainty and perhaps discreteness into spacetime, and generic effects of this fuzziness are currently being sought.

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Tuesday Aug 31, 2010
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Quantum states are not observables like in any wave mechanics but co-observables describing the reality as a possible knowledge about the statistics of all quantum events, like quantum jumps, quantum decays, quantum diffusions, quantum trajectories, etc.

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Friday Jul 16, 2010
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Many results have been recently obtained regarding the power of hypothetical closed time-like curves (CTC’s) in quantum computation. Most of them have been derived using Deutsch’s influential model for quantum CTCs [D. Deutsch, Phys. Rev. D 44, 3197 (1991)]. Deutsch’s model demands self-consistency for the time-travelling system, but in the absence of (hypothetical) physical CTCs, it cannot be tested experimentally. In this paper we show how the one-way model of measurement-based quantum computation (MBQC) can be used to test Deutsch’s model for CTCs.

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Friday Jun 11, 2010
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It has long been recognized that there are two distinct laws that go by the name of the Second Law of Thermodynamics. The original says that there can be no process resulting in a net decrease in the total entropy of all bodies involved. A consequence of the kinetic theory of heat is that this law will not be strictly true; statistical fluctuations will result in small spontaneous transfers of heat from a cooler to a warmer body.

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Tuesday May 11, 2010
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We first discuss quantum measure and integration theory. We then consider various anhomomorphic logics. Finally, we present some connections between the two theories. One connection is transferring a quantum measure to a measure on an anhomomorphic logic. Another is the creation of a reality filter that is stronger than Sorkin's preclusivity. This is accomplished by generating a preclusive coevent from a quantum measure. No prior knowledge of quantum measure theory or anhomomorphic logics will be assumed.

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Tuesday May 04, 2010
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Non-relativistic quantum mechanics is derived as an example of entropic inference. The basic assumption is that the position of a particle is subject to an irreducible uncertainty of unspecified origin. The corresponding probability distributions constitute a curved statistical manifold. The probability for infinitesimally small changes is obtained from the method of maximum entropy and the concept of time is introduced as a book-keeping device to keep track of how they accumulate. This requires introducing appropriate notions of instant and of duration.

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Friday Apr 23, 2010
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Many putative explanations in physics rely on idealized models of physical systems. These explanations are inconsistent with standard philosophical accounts of explanation. A common view holds that idealizations can underwrite explanation nonetheless, but only when they are what have variously been called Galilean, approximative, traditional or controllable. Controllability is the least vague of these categories, and this paper focuses on the relation between controllability and explanation. Specifically, it argues that the common view is an untenable half-measure.

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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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