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Operational General Relativity

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There is a long tradition of formulating Quantum Theory in an operational manner.  In one version of this a circuit is formed by wiring together operations. Each operation has knob settings and outcomes (lights flashing, detectors clicking, ..).  The question raised and answered in this colloquium is whether we can do the same for General Relativity.  There are hurdles that have to be overcome to do this - in particular, we need to define a diffeomorphism invariant notion of operations, identify what the knob settings and outcomes are, and what the wiring corresponds to.   In this colloquium I will provide an outline of how to formulate General Relativity like this providing a possibilistic calculus (we can calculate whether operationally described situations are possible or not).  This provides the beginnings of an operational approach to the problem of Quantum Gravity.  This talk is based on arxiv:1608.06940.