Quantum Theory from Quantum Information? (What would Feynman say?)

Chris Fuchs (Cambridge, Massachusetts)

Pavilón QUTE, Auditórium – 2. poschodie, FÚ SAV

How did the field of quantum information begin? To my mind, it was when John Wheeler formed his little group of students and postdocs at the University of Texas in the early 1980s. David Deutsch, Benjamin Schumacher, William Wootters, and Wojciech Zurek were all there. Even Richard Feynman visited once. It was because Wheeler had a single-minded purpose. To every student who walked into his office---even the first year undergraduate---Wheeler would implore: “Give an information theoretic derivation of quantum theory!” He saw that as the only way to get a real understanding of “the quantum” (as he called it). In this talk, I will outline how Wheeler’s old hope is still bearing technical fruit in the context of Quantum Bayesianism (or QBism). Particularly, that context points naturally to a study of a mysterious structure in Hilbert space called the Symmetric Information Complete (SIC) quantum measurement. When these structures exist (and it seems they do for all finite dimensions, though no one has yet proven it!) they give a very clean way of writing the Born rule in purely probabilistic terms. This gives the hope that all the mathematical structure of quantum theory might be derivable from one very basic gedankenexperiment. It’s not the double-slit experiment that Feynman argued for in his Feynman Lectures, but one might still appeal to his intuition and hope, “In reality, [this new scenario] contains the only mystery [of quantum mechanics].”

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