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

Aug 21 2018 - 3:30pm
Room #: 394
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Tuesday Aug 14, 2018
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In general relativity, the picture of space–time assigns an ideal clock to each world line. Being ideal, gravitational effects due to these clocks are ignored and the flow of time according to one clock is not affected by the presence of clocks along nearby world lines. However, if time is defined operationally, as a pointer position of a physical clock that obeys the principles of general relativity and quantum mechanics, such a picture is, at most, a convenient fiction.

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Tuesday Aug 07, 2018
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Convex optimization, linear and semidefinite programming in particular, has been a standard tool in quantum information theory, giving certificates of local and quantum correlations, contextuality, and more. Increasingly, similar methods are making headways in quantum many-body physics, giving lower bounds -- and thus certificates -- on the ground state energy. The disadvantage of such methods is that they do not scale well to large system sizes, whether those systems are multiparty Bell scenarios or lattice models of numerous sites. Machine

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Tuesday Jul 17, 2018
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In physics, every observation is made with respect to a frame of reference. Although reference frames are usually not considered as degrees of freedom, in all practical situations it is a physical system which constitutes a reference frame. Can a quantum system be considered as a reference frame and, if so, which description would it give of the world?

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Wednesday May 23, 2018
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There has been a dissatisfaction with the postulates of quantum mechanics essentially since the moment that those postulates were first written down. Over the years since there have therefore been many attempts (some successful and some less so) to reconstruct quantum theory from various sets of postulates. The aim being to gain a deeper understanding of the theory by providing a conceptually clear underpinning from which the standard formalism can be derived.

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Tuesday May 08, 2018
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In order to think about the foundations of physics it is important to understand the logical relationships among the physical principles that sustain the building. As part of these axioms of physics there is the core hypothesis that, how the Universe is partitioned into systems and subsystems is a subjective choice of the observer that should not affect the predictions of physics. Other foundational principles are the Postulates of Quantum Mechanics. However, we prove that these are not independent from the “independence of subsystem partitioning” hypothesis described above.

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Tuesday Mar 06, 2018
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The distillation of quantum resources such as entanglement and coherence forms one of the most fundamental protocols in quantum information and is of outstanding operational significance, but it is often characterized in the idealized asymptotic limit where an unbounded number of independent and identically distributed copies of a quantum system are available.

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Tuesday Feb 20, 2018
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The methodology employed in reconstructing quantum theory involves defining a general mathematical framework that frames a landscape of possible theories and then positing principles that uniquely pick out quantum theory. In contrast, many traditional interpretations of quantum theory consider only quantum theory, not a larger space of possible theories. I will defend the modal methodology used in reconstruction by tracing the historical roots of Einstein’s distinction between principle and constructive theories.

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Tuesday Feb 13, 2018
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Hidden-variables theories account for quantum mechanics in terms of a particular 'equilibrium' distribution of underlying parameters corresponding to the Born rule. A natural question to ask is whether the theory is stable under small perturbations away from equilibrium. We compare and contrast two examples: de Broglie's 1927 pilot-wave theory and Bohm's 1952 reformulation thereof. It is well established that in de Broglie's dynamics initial deviations from equilibrium will relax.

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Thursday Feb 08, 2018
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In this talk I show how to systematically classify all possible alternatives to the measurement postulates of quantum theory. All alternative measurement postulates are in correspondence with a representation of the unitary group. I will discuss composite systems in these alternative theories and show that they violate two operational properties: purification and local tomography. This shows that one can derive the measurement postulates of quantum theory from either of these properties. I will discuss the relevance of this result to the field of general probabilistic theories.

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Tuesday Feb 06, 2018
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In this talk I will discuss recently-identified classes of quantum correlations that go beyond nonlocal classical hidden-variable models equipped with communication. First, in the bipartite scenario, I will focus on so-called instrumental causal networks, which are a primal tool in causal inference. There, I will show that it is possible to “fake” classical causal influences with quantum common causes, in a formal sense quantified by the average causal effect (ACE).

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