Weekly Papers on Quantum Foundations (21)

Diósi, Lajos (2018) How to teach and think about spontaneous wave function collapse theories: not like before. Collapse of the Wave Function Models: Ontology, Origin, and Implications. pp. 3-11.
By reaching down into the quantum world, scientists are hoping to gain more control over matter and energy– Read more on ScientificAmerican.com


Author(s): S. Bose, D. Home, and S. Mal

Can the most “classical-like” of all quantum states, namely the Schrödinger coherent state of a harmonic oscillator, exhibit nonclassical behavior? We find that for an oscillating object initially in a coherent state, merely by observing at various instants which spatial region the object is in, the…
[Phys. Rev. Lett. 120, 210402] Published Fri May 25, 2018


The inherent difficulty in talking about quantum decoherence in the context of quantum cosmology is that decoherence requires subsystems, and cosmology is the study of the whole Universe. Consistent histories gave a possible answer to this conundrum, by phrasing decoherence as loss of interference between alternative histories of closed systems. When one can apply Boolean logic to a set of histories, it is deemed ‘consistent’. However, the vast majority of the sets of histories that are merely consistent are blatantly nonclassical in other respects, and further constraints than just consistency need to be invoked. In this paper, I attempt to give an alternative answer to the issues faced by consistent histories, by exploring a timeless interpretation of quantum mechanics of closed systems. This is done solely in terms of path integrals in non-relativistic, timeless, configuration space. What prompts a fresh look at such foundational problems in this context is the advent of multiple gravitational models in which Lorentz symmetry is not fundamental, but only emergent. And what allows this approach to overcome previous barriers to a timeless, conditional probabilities interpretation of quantum mechanics is the new notion of records—made possible by an inherent asymmetry of configuration space. I outline and explore consequences of this approach for foundational issues of quantum mechanics, such as the natural emergence of the Born rule, conservation of probabilities, and the Sleeping Beauty paradox.

Franklin, Alexander (2017) Whence the Effectiveness of Effective Field Theories? [Preprint]
Esfeld, Michael and Deckert, Dirk-André (2018) Authors’ Response: the virtues of minimalism in ontology and epistemology. [Preprint]
Romero, Gustavo E. and Perez, Daniela and Lopez Armengol, Federico (2018) Cosmological black holes and the direction of time. Foundations of Science, 23. pp. 415-426.

Author(s): Mohammad H. Amin, Evgeny Andriyash, Jason Rolfe, Bohdan Kulchytskyy, and Roger Melko

A new machine-learning algorithm demonstrates the performance of a quantum Boltzmann machine, a quantum extension of a popular classical neural network, paving the way for quantum approaches to machine learning.

[Phys. Rev. X 8, 021050] Published Wed May 23, 2018

Quantum mechanics imposes a fundamental trade-off between the accuracy of time measurements and the size of the systems used as clocks. When the measurements of different time intervals are combined, the errors due to the finite clock size accumulate, resulting in an overall inaccuracy that grows with the complexity of the set-up. Here, we introduce a method that, in principle, eludes the accumulation of errors by coherently transferring information from a quantum clock to a quantum memory of the smallest possible size. Our method could be used to measure the total duration of a sequence of events with enhanced accuracy, and to reduce the amount of quantum communication needed to stabilize clocks in a quantum network.

Authors: Xavier CalmetBoris Latosh

We show that quantum gravity, whatever its ultra-violet completion might be, could account for dark matter. Indeed, besides the massless gravitational field recently observed in the form of gravitational waves, the spectrum of quantum gravity contains two massive fields respectively of spin 2 and spin 0. If these fields are long-lived, they could easily account for dark matter. In that case, dark matter would be very light and only gravitationally coupled to the standard model particles.

Authors: Steven B. Giddings

A “quantum-first” approach to gravity is described, where rather than quantizing general relativity, one seeks to formulate the physics of gravity within a quantum-mechanical framework with suitably general postulates. Important guides are the need for appropriate mathematical structure on Hilbert space, and correspondence with general relativity and quantum field theory in weak-gravity situations. A basic physical question is that of “Einstein separability:” how to define mutually independent subsystems, e.g. through localization. Standard answers via tensor products or operator algebras conflict with properties of gravity, as is seen in the correspondence limit; this connects with discussions of “soft hair.” Instead, gravitational behavior suggests a networked Hilbert space structure. This structure plus unitarity provide important clues towards a quantum formulation of gravity.

Authors: Meenu KumariShohini Ghose

Quantum-classical correspondence in chaotic systems is a long-standing problem. We describe a method to quantify Bohr’s correspondence principle and calculate the size of quantum numbers for which we can expect to observe quantum-classical correspondence near periodic orbits of Floquet systems. Our method shows how the stability of classical periodic orbits affects quantum dynamics. We demonstrate our method by analyzing quantum-classical correspondence in the quantum kicked top (QKT), which exhibits both regular and chaotic behavior. We use our correspondence conditions to identify signatures of classical bifurcations even in a deep quantum regime. Our method can be used to explain the breakdown of quantum-classical correspondence in chaotic systems.

Authors: Scott Aaronson

We show that combining two different hypothetical enhancements to quantum computation—namely, quantum advice and non-collapsing measurements—would let a quantum computer solve any decision problem whatsoever in polynomial time, even though neither enhancement yields extravagant power by itself. This complements a related result due to Raz. The proof uses locally decodable codes.

Authors: Hans De RaedtMikhail I. KatsnelsonDennis WillschKristel Michielsen

It is shown that the quantum theoretical description of statistical data resulting from experiments with a finite number of different outcomes emerges by organizing the data such that the descriptions of the preparation and measurement stage are separated as much as possible. The quantum theoretical description that derives from this elementary principle of separation is void of the usual postulates/interpretations regarding “wave functions”, “observables”, “quantization rules”, “Born’s rule”, and the like. The separation principle is illustrated by application to the Stern-Gerlach and the Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen-Bohm experiment and generalizes in a trivial manner. The von Neunman equation and therefore also the Schr\”odinger equation are shown to follow directly from the mathematical structure that renders possible separated descriptions.

Authors: John B. DeBrotaChristopher A. FuchsBlake C. Stacey

We describe a general procedure for associating a minimal informationally-complete quantum measurement (or MIC) and a set of linearly independent post-measurement quantum states with a purely probabilistic representation of the Born Rule. Such representations are motivated by QBism, where the Born Rule is understood as a consistency condition between probabilities assigned to the outcomes of one experiment in terms of the probabilities assigned to the outcomes of other experiments. In this setting, the difference between quantum and classical physics is the way their physical assumptions augment bare probability theory: Classical physics corresponds to a trivial augmentation—one just applies the Law of Total Probability (LTP) between the scenarios—while quantum theory makes use of the Born Rule expressed in one or another of the forms of our general procedure. To mark the essential difference between quantum and classical, one should seek the representations that minimize the disparity between the expressions. We prove that the representation of the Born Rule obtained from a symmetric informationally-complete measurement (or SIC) minimizes this distinction in at least two senses—the first to do with unitarily invariant distance measures between the rules, and the second to do with available volume in a reference probability simplex (roughly speaking a new kind of uncertainty principle). Both of these arise from a significant majorization result. This work complements recent studies in quantum computation where the deviation of the Born Rule from the LTP is measured in terms of negativity of Wigner functions.

Storing time from a quantum stopwatch with qubits – instead of losing accuracy by stopping and starting it – could give us the ultimate precision in timekeeping
Roy, Sudipto and Nandi, Dipika and Ghosh, Sumana and Das, Apashanka (2018) Time Evolution of Density Parameters for Matter and Dark Energy and their Interaction Term in Brans-Dicke Gravity. [Preprint]
A new experiment hints at surprising hidden mechanics of quantum superpositions– Read more on ScientificAmerican.com


Author(s): L. L. Yan, T. P. Xiong, K. Rehan, F. Zhou, D. F. Liang, L. Chen, J. Q. Zhang, W. L. Yang, Z. H. Ma, and M. Feng

A fundamental limit on the heat produced when erasing a bit of information has been confirmed in a fully quantum system.

[Phys. Rev. Lett. 120, 210601] Published Mon May 21, 2018


In this paper we have two aims: first, to draw attention to the close connexion between interpretation and scientific understanding; second, to give a detailed account of how theories without a spacetime can be interpreted, and so of how they can be understood. In order to do so, we of course need an account of what is meant by a theory ‘without a spacetime’: which we also provide in this paper. We describe three tools, used by physicists, aimed at constructing interpretations which are adequate for the goal of understanding. We analyse examples from high-energy physics illustrating how physicists use these tools to construct interpretations and thereby attain understanding. The examples are: the ’t Hooft approximation of gauge theories, random matrix models, causal sets, loop quantum gravity, and group field theory.

Taylor, Peter The Relation Between Classical and Quantum Mechanics. UNSPECIFIED.
Sengupta, Rakesh (2017) How embodied is time? [Preprint]
The quantum story is all brilliant insights, flawed male scientists – and few female ones. To progress, we may need to dump our prejudices, says a new book

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