Information Theoretic Foundations for Physics

Information Theoretic Foundations for Physics

 

Tuesday May 12, 2015
Speaker(s): 

I will argue that, apart from their ever growing number of applications to physics, information theoretic concepts also offer a novel perspective on the physical content and architecture of quantum theory and spacetime. As a concrete example, I will discuss how one can derive and understand the formalism of qubit quantum theory by focusing only on what an observer can say about a system and imposing a few simple rules on the observer’s acquisition of information.

 

Monday May 11, 2015
Speaker(s): 

How should we describe the thermodynamics of extreme quantum regimes, where features such as coherence and entanglement dominate?

I will discuss possible limitations of a traditional statistical mechanics approach, and then describe work that applies modern techniques from the theory of quantum information to the foundations of thermodynamics. In particular I discuss recent progress in quantum resource theories and argue that to properly encapsulate the thermodynamic structure of quantum coherence and entanglement we must make use of concepts beyond free energies.

 

Monday May 11, 2015
Speaker(s): 

Much progress has recently been made on the fine-grained thermodynamics and statistical mechanics of microscopic physical systems, by conceiving of thermodynamics as a resource theory: one which governs which transitions between states are possible using specified "thermodynamic" (e.g. adiabatic or isothermal) means. In this talk we lay some groundwork for investigating thermodynamics in generalized probabilistic theories.

 

Monday May 11, 2015
Speaker(s): 

In the classical world of Newton and Laplace, fundamental physics and thermodynamics do not blend well: the former puts forward a picture of nature where states are pure and processes are fundamentally reversible, while the latter deals with scenarios where states are mixed and processes are irreversible. Many attempts have been made at reconciling the two paradigms, but ultimately the source of all troubles remains: if every particle possesses a definite position and a definite velocity, why should experimental data depend on the expectations of agents who have only partial information?

 

Monday May 11, 2015
Speaker(s): 

In QBism, a quantum state represents an agent's personal degrees of belief regarding the consequences of her actions on any part of her external world. The quantum formalism provides consistency criteria that enable the agent to make better decisions. QBism thus gives a central role to the agent, or user of the theory, and explicitly rejects the ontological model framework introduced by Harrigan and Spekkens. This talk addresses the status of agents and the notion of locality in QBism. Our definition of locality is independent of the assumption of an ontological model.

 

Monday May 11, 2015
Speaker(s): 

One of the most deeply rooted concepts in science is causality: the idea that events in the present are caused by events in the past and, in turn, act as causes for what happens in the future. If an event A is a cause of an effect B, then B cannot be a cause of A.

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