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 Nov 08, 2011
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Quantum theory can be thought of as a noncommutative generalization of Bayesian probability theory, but for the analogy to be convincing, it should be possible to describe inferences among quantum systems in a manner that is independent of the causal relationship between those systems.

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Tuesday Nov 01, 2011
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We use the mathematical language of sheaf theory to give a unified treatment of non-locality and contextuality, which generalizes the familiar probability tables used in non-locality theory to cover Kochen-Specker configurations and more. We show that contextuality, and non-locality as a special case, correspond exactly to *obstructions to the existence of global sections*.

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Tuesday Oct 11, 2011
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Classical constraints come in various forms: first and second class, irreducible and reducible, regular and irregular, all of which will be illustrated. They can lead to severe complications when classical constraints are quantized. An additional complication involves whether one should quantize first and reduce second or vice versa, which may conflict with the axiom that canonical quantization requires Cartesian coordinates. Most constraint quantization procedures (e.g., Dirac, BRST, Faddeev) run into difficulties with some of these issues and may lead to erroneous results.

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Tuesday Oct 04, 2011
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A family of probability distributions (i.e. a statistical model) is said to be sufficient for another, if there exists a transition matrix transforming the probability distributions in the former to the probability distributions in the latter. The so-called Blackwell-Sherman-Stein Theorem provides necessary and sufficient conditions for one statistical model to be sufficient for another, by comparing their "information values" in a game-theoretical framework. In this talk, I will extend some of these ideas to the quantum case.

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Tuesday Sep 27, 2011
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Wheeler's delayed choice (WDC) is one of the "standard experiments in foundations". It aims at the puzzle of a photon simultaneously behaving as wave and particle. Bohr-Einstein debate on wave-particle duality prompted the introduction of Bohr's principle of complementarity, ---`.. the study of complementary phenomena demands mutually exclusive experimental arrangements" . In WDC experiment the mutually exclusive setups correspond to the presence or absence of a second beamsplitter in a Mach-Zehnder interferometer (MZI). A choice of the setup determines the observed behaviour.

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Tuesday Jul 19, 2011
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This is a very informal talk about some of the issues associated with the notion of "macroscopic realism" (MR) and its relation to quantum mechanics (QM).

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Tuesday May 24, 2011

This is a geometric tutorial about straight and twisted vectors and forms (ie, de Rham currents) leading to some wild thoughts about the EM field as a *thing*, ie with properties similar to a piece of matter; and to some even wilder thoughts about a metric-free GR.

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Wednesday May 18, 2011
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I provide a reformulation of finite dimensional quantum theory in the circuit framework in terms of mathematical axioms, and a reconstruction of quantum theory from operational postulates. The mathematical axioms for quantum theory are the following: [Axiom 1] Operations correspond to operators. [Axiom 2] Every complete set of positive operators corresponds to a complete set of operations. The following operational postulates are shown to be equivalent to these mathematical axioms: [P1] Definiteness.

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Tuesday May 17, 2011
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Quantum theory can be thought of a noncommutative generalization of classical probability and, from this perspective, it is puzzling that no quantum generalization of conditional probability is in widespread use. In this talk, I discuss one such generalization and show how it can unify the description of ensemble preparations of quantum states, POVM measurements and the description of correlations between quantum systems.

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