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

 

Thursday Mar 23, 2017
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Entropy is an important information measure. A complete understanding of entropy flow will have applications in quantum thermodynamics and beyond; for example it may help to identify the sources of fidelity loss in quantum communications and methods to prevent or control them. Being nonlinear in density matrix, its evaluation for quantum systems requires simultaneous evolution of more-than-one density matrix.

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Tuesday Mar 07, 2017
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When utilized appropriately, the path-integral offers an alternative to the ordinary quantum formalism of state-vectors, selfadjoint operators, and external observers -- an alternative that seems closer to the underlying reality and more in tune with quantum gravity. The basic dynamical relationships are then expressed, not by a propagator, but by the quantum measure, a set-function $\mu$ that assigns to every (suitably regular) set $E$ of histories its generalized measure $\mu(E)$.

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Tuesday Feb 28, 2017
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In this talk I will discuss how we might go about about performing a Bell experiment in which humans are used to decide the settings at each end.  The radical possibility we wish to investigate is that, when humans are used to decide the settings (rather than various types of random number generators), we might then expect to see a violation of Quantum Theory in agreement with the relevant Bell inequality.  Such a result, while very unlikely, would be tremendously significant for our understanding of the world (and I will discuss some interpretations).  

 

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Tuesday Feb 21, 2017
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The fact that in physics concepts such as space, time, mass and energy are considered to be foundational has been conveniently serving a set of higher-level physical theories.

However, this keeps us from gaining a deeper understanding of such concepts which can in turn help us build a theory based on truly foundational concepts.

In this talk I introduce an alternate description of physical reality based on a simple foundational concept that there exist things that influence one another.

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Thursday Feb 16, 2017
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The study of thermodynamics in the quantum regime has in recent years experienced somewhat of a renaissance in our community. This excitement is fueled both by the fundamental nature of the subject as well as the potential for heat machines designed with quantum advantages. Here, I will suggest the study of quantum thermodynamics restricted to a Gaussian regime, with two primary goals in mind.

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Tuesday Feb 14, 2017
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Hayden and Van Dam showed that starting with a separable state in Alice and Bob’s state space and a shared entangled state in a common bipartite resource space, then using local unitary operations, it is possible to produce an entangled pair in the state space while at the same time only perturbing the shared entangled state by a small amount, which can be made arbitrarily small as the dimension of the resource space grows. They referred to this as “embezzling entanglement” since numerically it “appears" that the resource state was returned exactly.

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Tuesday Jan 17, 2017
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Anomalies are a ubiquitous phenomenon in quantum mechanics whereby a classical
symmetry is irrevocably violated by quantization. Anomalies not only constrain the
space of classical theories than are consistent with quantum mechanics but are
responsible for rich, surprising and experimentally tested physical phenomena.
In this talk I will give a non-technical, bird's eye introduction to anomalies.

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Tuesday Dec 13, 2016
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Seminal work of Steve Lack showed that universal algebraic theories (PROPs) may be composed to produce more sophisticated theories.  I’ll apply this method to construct an axiomatic version of the theory of a pair of complementary observables starting from the theory of monoids.  How far can we get with this?  Quite far!  We’ll get a large chunk of finite dimensional quantum theory this way —but the fact that quantum systems have non-trivial dynamics means that it’s (always) possible to present the resulting theory as a composite PROP in Lack’s sense.  If time permits,

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Tuesday Dec 06, 2016
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Analyzing characteristics of an unknown quantum system in a device-independent manner, i.e., using only the measurement statistics, is a fundamental task in quantum physics and quantum information theory. For example, device-independence is a very important feature in the study of quantum cryptography where the quantum devices may not be trusted.

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Thursday Dec 01, 2016
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A geometric approach to investigation of quantum entanglement is advocated.
We discuss first the geometry of the (N^2-1)--dimensional convex body
of  mixed quantum states acting  on an N--dimensional Hilbert space
and study projections of this set into 2- and 3-dimensional spaces.
For composed dimensions, N=K^2, one consideres the subset
of separable states and shows that it has a positive measure.
Analyzing its properties contributes to our understanding of
quantum entanglement and its time evolution.

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