Weekly Papers on Quantum Foundations (6)

Publication date: Available online 9 February 2017
Source:Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics
Author(s): Paul Tappenden


probability in quantum mechanics is often thought to involve a stochastic process whereby an actual future is selected from a range of possibilities. Everett’s seminal idea is that all possible definite futures on the pointer basis exist as components of a macroscopic linear superposition. I demonstrate that these two conceptions of what is involved in quantum processes are linked via two alternative interpretations of the mind-body relation. This leads to a fission, rather than divergence, interpretation of Everettian theory and to a novel explanation of why a principle of indifference does not apply to self-location uncertainty for a post-measurement, pre-observation subject, just as Sebens and Carroll claim. Their Epistemic Separability Principle is shown to arise out of this explanation and the derivation of the Born rule for Everettian theory is thereby put on a firmer footing.

Machine learning has been used to beat a human competitor in a game of Go (1), a game that has long been viewed as the most challenging of board games for artificial intelligence. Research is now under way to investigate whether machine learning can be used to solve long outstanding problems in quantum science. On page 602 of this issue, Carleo and Troyer (2) use machine learning on one of quantum science’s greatest challenges: the simulation of quantum many-body systems. Carleo and Troyer used an artificial neural network to represent the wave function of a quantum many-body system and to make the neural network “learn” what the ground state (or dynamics) of the system is. Their approach is found to perform better than the current state-of-the-art numerical simulation methods. Author: Michael R. Hush


The additional information within a Hamilton–Jacobi representation of quantum mechanics is extra, in general, to the Schrödinger representation. This additional information specifies the microstate of \(\psi \) that is incorporated into the quantum reduced action, W. Non-physical solutions of the quantum stationary Hamilton–Jacobi equation for energies that are not Hamiltonian eigenvalues are examined to establish Lipschitz continuity of the quantum reduced action and conjugate momentum. Milne quantization renders the eigenvalue J. Eigenvalues J and E mutually imply each other. Jacobi’s theorem generates a microstate-dependent time parametrization \(t-\tau =\partial _E W\) even where energy, E, and action variable, J, are quantized eigenvalues. Substantiating examples are examined in a Hamilton–Jacobi representation including the linear harmonic oscillator numerically and the square well in closed form. Two byproducts are developed. First, the monotonic behavior of W is shown to ease numerical and analytic computations. Second, a Hamilton–Jacobi representation, quantum trajectories, is shown to develop the standard energy quantization formulas of wave mechanics.

Bitbol, Michel (2002) Transcendental Structuralism in Physics: An alternative to Structural Realism. [Preprint]
Weatherall, James Owen (2017) Conservation, Inertia, and Spacetime Geometry. [Preprint]
Gyenis, Balazs (2017) Maxwell and the normal distribution: A colored story of probability, independence, and tendency toward equilibrium. [Preprint]


Under the normal assumptions of quantum field theory, Haag’s theorem states that any field unitarily equivalent to a free field must itself be a free field. Unfortunately, the derivation of the Dyson series perturbation expansion relies on the use of the interaction picture, in which the interacting field is unitarily equivalent to the free field but must still account for interactions. Thus, the traditional perturbative derivation of the scattering matrix in quantum field theory is mathematically ill defined. Nevertheless, perturbative quantum field theory is currently the only practical approach for addressing scattering for realistic interactions, and it has been spectacularly successful in making empirical predictions. This paper explains this success by showing that Haag’s Theorem can be avoided when quantum field theory is formulated using an invariant, fifthpath parameter in addition to the usual four position parameters, such that the Dyson perturbation expansion for the scattering matrix can still be reproduced. As a result, the parameterized formalism provides a consistent foundation for the interpretation of quantum field theory as used in practice and, perhaps, for better dealing with other mathematical issues.

Authors: Carlos Sabín

We show how to use quantum metrology to detect a wormhole. A coherent state of the electromagnetic field experiences a phase shift with a slight dependence on the throat radius of a possible distant wormhole. We show that this tiny correction is, in principle, detectable by homodyne measurements after long propagation lengths for a wide range of throat radii and distances to the wormhole, even if the detection takes place very far away from the throat, where the spacetime is very close to a flat geometry. We use realistic parameters from state-of-the-art long-baseline laser interferometry, both Earth-based and space-borne. The scheme is, in principle, robust to optical losses and initial mixedness.

Authors: Cecilia BejaranoGonzalo J. OlmoDiego Rubiera-Garcia

Exploring the characterization of singular black hole spacetimes, we study the relation between energy density, curvature invariants, and geodesic completeness using a quadratic $f(R)$ gravity theory coupled to an anisotropic fluid. Working in a metric-affine approach, our models and solutions represent minimal extensions of General Relativity (GR) in the sense that they rapidly recover the usual Reissner-Nordstr\”{o}m solution from near the inner horizon outwards. The anisotropic fluid helps modify only the innermost geometry. Depending on the values and signs of two parameters on the gravitational and matter sectors, a breakdown of the correlations between the finiteness/divergence of the energy density, the behavior of curvature invariants, and the (in)completeness of geodesics is obtained. We find a variety of configurations with and without wormholes, a case with a de Sitter interior, solutions that mimic non-linear models of electrodynamics coupled to GR, and configurations with up to four horizons. Our results raise questions regarding what infinities, if any, a quantum version of these theories should regularize.

Authors: Jacques DistlerSonia Paban

We previously remarked that when an observable A has a continuous spectrum, then von Neumann’s formula for the post-measurement state needs to be extended and the correct formula ineluctably involves the resolution of the detector used in the measurement. We generalize previous results to compute the uncertainties in successive measurements of more general pairs of observables. We also show that this extended von Neumann’s formula for the post-measurement state is a completely positive map and, moreover, that there is a completely-positive interpolation between the pre- and post-measurement states. Weinberg has advocated that the time-evolution during the measurement process should be modeled as an open quantum system and governed by a Lindblad equation. We verify that this is indeed the case for an arbitrary observable, A, and a fairly general class of interpolations.

Authors: Vlatko Vedral

This paper summarizes the basics of the notion of quantum discord and how it relates to other types of correlations in quantum physics. We take the fundamental information theoretic approach and illustrate our exposition with a number of simple examples.

Publication date: Available online 5 February 2017
Source:Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics
Author(s): Gábor Hofer-Szabó
No-conspiracy is the requirement that measurement settings should be probabilistically independent of the elements of reality responsible for the measurement outcomes. In this paper we investigate what role no-conspiracy generally plays in a physical theory; how it influences the semantical role of the event types of the theory; and how it relates to such other concepts as separability, compatibility, causality, locality and contextuality.


Quantum mechanical weak values of projection operators have been used to answer which-way questions, e.g. to trace which arms in a multiple Mach–Zehnder setup a particle may have traversed from a given initial to a prescribed final state. I show that this procedure might lead to logical inconsistencies in the sense that different methods used to answer composite questions, like “Has the particle traversed the way X or the way Y?”, may result in different answers depending on which methods are used to find the answer. I illustrate the problem by considering some examples: the “quantum pigeonhole” framework of Aharonov et al., the three-box problem, and Hardy’s paradox. To prepare the ground for my main conclusion on the incompatibility in certain cases of weak values and logic, I study the corresponding situation for strong/projective measurements. In this case, no logical inconsistencies occur provided one is always careful in specifying exactly to which ensemble or sample space one refers. My results cast doubts on the utility of quantum weak values in treating cases like the examples mentioned.


We critically review the recent debate between Doreen Fraser and David Wallace on the interpretation of quantum field theory, with the aim of identifying where the core of the disagreement lies. We show that, despite appearances, their conflict does not concern the existence of particles or the occurrence of unitarily inequivalent representations. Instead, the dispute ultimately turns on the very definition of what a quantum field theory is. We further illustrate the fundamental differences between the two approaches by comparing them both to the Bohmian program in quantum field theory.

Authors: Jean-Philippe Bouchaud

We propose an extension of Quantum Mechanics based on the idea that the underlying “quantum noise” has a non-zero, albeit very small, correlation time $\tau_c$. The standard (non-relativistic) Schrodinger equation is recovered to zeroth order in $\tau_c$, and the first correction to energy levels is explicitly computed.

Authors: Anzhong Wang

Ho\v{r}ava gravity at a Lifshitz point is a theory intended to quantize gravity by using techniques of traditional quantum field theories. To avoid Ostrogradsky’s ghosts, a problem that has been plaguing quantization of general relativity since the middle of 1970’s, Ho\v{r}ava chose to break the Lorentz invariance by a Lifshitz-type of anisotropic scaling between space and time at the ultra-high energy, while recovering (approximately) the invariance at low energies. With the stringent observational constraints and self-consistency, it turns out that this is not an easy task, and various modifications have been proposed, since the first incarnation of the theory in 2009. In this review, we shall provide a progress report on the recent developments of Ho\v{r}ava gravity. In particular, we first present four most-studied versions of Ho\v{r}ava gravity, by focusing first on their self-consistency and then their consistency with experiments, including the solar system tests and cosmological observations. Then, we provide a general review on the recent developments of the theory in three different but also related areas: (i) universal horizons, black holes and their thermodynamics; (ii) non-relativistic gauge/gravity duality; and (iii) quantization of the theory. The studies in these areas can be generalized to other gravitational theories with broken Lorentz invariance.

Authors: S. FerraraA. Sagnotti

The fortieth anniversary of the original construction of Supergravity provides an opportunity to combine some reminiscences of its early days with an assessment of its impact on the quest for a quantum theory of gravity.

Authors: Zehua TianJiliang JingAndrzej Dragan

We propose the use of a waveguide-like transmission line based on direct-current superconducting quantum interference devices (dc-SQUID) and demonstrate that the node flux in this transmission line behaves in the same way as quantum fields in an expanding (or contracting) universe. We show how to detect the analogue cosmological particle generation and analyze its feasibility with current circuit quantum electrodynamics (cQED) technology. Our setup in principle paves a new way for the exploration of analogue quantum gravitational effects.

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