## About

252

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Introduction

**Skills and Expertise**

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October 1994 - August 1996

## Publications

Publications (252)

We show that in the operational setting of a two-agent, local operations, classical communication (LOCC) protocol, Alice and Bob cannot operationally distinguish monogamous entanglement from a topological identification of points in their respective local spacetimes, i.e. that ER = EPR can be recovered as an operational theorem. Our construction im...

Binz et al. propose a general framework for meta-learning and contrast it with built-by-hand Bayesian models. We comment on some architectural assumptions of the approach, its relation to the active inference framework, its potential applicability to living systems in general, and the advantages of the latter in addressing the explanation problem.

We start from the fundamental premise that any physical interaction can be interpreted as a game. To demonstrate this, we draw upon the free energy principle and the theory of quantum reference frames. In this way, we place the game-theoretic Nash Equilibrium in a new light in so far as the incompleteness and undecidability of the concept, as well...

When describing Active Inference Agents (AIAs), the term “energy” can have two distinct meanings. One is the energy that is utilized by the AIA (e.g., electrical energy or chemical energy). The second meaning is so-called Variational Free Energy (VFE), a statistical quantity which provides an upper bound on surprisal. In this paper, we develop an a...

Topological quantum field theories (TQFTs) provide a general, minimal‐assumption language for describing quantum‐state preparation and measurement. They therefore provide a general language in which to express multi‐agent communication protocols, e.g., local operations, classical communication (LOCC) protocols. Here, LOCC protocols are constructed...

Topological quantum field theories (TQFTs) provide a general, minimal‐assumption language for describing quantum‐state preparation and measurement. They therefore provide a general language in which to express multi‐agent communication protocols, e.g., local operations, classical communication (LOCC) protocols. In the accompanying Part I, we constr...

Topological quantum field theories (TQFTs) provide a general, minimal-assumption lan- guage for describing quantum-state preparation and measurement. They therefore provide a general language in which to express multi-agent communication protocols, e.g. local operations, classical communication (LOCC) protocols. In the accompanying Part I, we const...

The ideas of self-observation and self-representation, and the concomitant idea of self-control, pervade both the cognitive and life sciences, arising in domains as diverse as immunology and robotics. Here, we ask in a very general way whether, and to what extent, these ideas make sense. Using a generic model of physical interactions, we prove a th...

Replicating or exceeding human intelligence, not just in particular domains but in general, has always been a major goal of Artificial Intelligence (AI). We argue here that “human intelligence” is not only ill-defined, but often conflated with broader aspects of human psychology. Standard arguments for replicating it are morally unacceptable. We th...

This paper concerns the distributed intelligence or federated inference that emerges under belief-sharing among agents who share a common world—and world model. Imagine, for example, several animals keeping a lookout for predators. Their collective surveillance rests upon being able to communicate their beliefs—about what they see—among themselves....

We study the relationship between assumptions of state separability and both preparation and measurement contextuality, and the relationship of both of these to the frame problem, the problem of predicting what does not change in consequence of an action. We state a quantum analog of the latter and prove its undecidability. We show how contextualit...

This paper introduces a variational formulation of natural selection, paying special attention to the nature of ‘things’ and the way that different ‘kinds’ of ‘things’ are individuated from—and influence—each other. We use the Bayesian mechanics of particular partitions to understand how slow phylogenetic processes constrain—and are constrained by—...

Living systems face both environmental complexity and limited access to free-energy resources. Survival under these conditions requires a control system that can activate, or deploy, available perception and action resources in a context specific way. In this Part I, we introduce the free-energy principle (FEP) and the idea of active inference as B...

Living systems face both environmental complexity and limited access to free-energy resources. Survival under these conditions requires a control system that can activate, or deploy, available perception and action resources in a context specific way. In Part I, we introduced the free-energy principle (FEP) and the idea of active inference as Bayes...

Using the formal framework of the Free Energy Principle, we show how generic thermodynamic requirements on bidirectional information exchange between a system and its environment can generate complexity. This leads to the emergence of hierarchical computational architectures in systems that operate sufficiently far from thermal equilibrium. In this...

We study the relationship between assumptions of state separability and both preparation and measurement contextuality, and the relationship of both of these to the frame problem, the problem of predicting what does not change in consequence of an action. We state a quantum analog of the latter and prove its undecidability. We show how contextualit...

This paper presents a model of consciousness that follows directly from the free-energy principle (FEP). We first rehearse the classical and quantum formulations of the FEP. In particular, we consider the inner screen hypothesis that follows from the quantum information theoretic version of the FEP. We then review applications of the FEP to the kno...

Topological quantum field theories (TQFTs) provide a general, minimal-assumption language for describing quantum-state preparation and measurement. They therefore provide a general language in which to express multi-agent communication protocols, e.g. local operations, classical communication (LOCC) protocols. Here we construct LOCC protocols using...

Living systems face both environmental complexity and limited access to free-energy resources. Survival under these conditions requires a control system that can activate, or deploy, available perception and action resources in a context specific way. We show here that when systems are described as executing active inference driven by the free-ener...

Living systems face both environmental complexity and limited access to free-energy resources. Survival under these conditions requires a control system that can activate, or deploy, available perception and action resources in a context specific way. We show here that when systems are described as executing active inference driven by the free-ener...

We show how any finite physical system with morphological, i.e. three-dimensional embedding or shape, degrees of freedom and locally limited free energy will, under the constraints of the free energy principle, evolve over time towards a neuromorphic morphology that supports hierarchical computations in which each “level” of the hierarchy enacts a...

We show in this pedagogical review that far from being an apparent law of physics that stands by itself, the holographic principle is a straightforward consequence of the quantum information theory of separable systems. It provides a basis for the theories of measurement, time, and scattering. Utilizing the notion of holographic screens, which are...

We show in this pedagogical review that far from being "an apparent law of physics that stands by itself" (R. Bousso, Rev. Mod. Phys. 74 (2002), 825-874), the holographic principle (HP) is a straightforward consequence of the quantum information theory of separable systems. It provides a basis for the theories of measurement, time, and scattering....

Deep Neural Networks miss a principled model of their operation. A novel framework for supervised learning based on Topological Quantum Field Theory that looks particularly well suited for implementation on quantum processors has been recently explored. We propose the use of this framework for understanding the problem of generalization in Deep Neu...

We introduce novel methods for implementing generic quantum information within a scale‐free architecture. For a given observable system, we show how observational outcomes are taken to be finite bit strings induced by measurement operators derived from a holographic screen bounding the system. In this framework, measurements of identified systems w...

We show how any system with morphological degrees of freedom and locally limited free energy will, under the constraints of the free energy principle, evolve toward a neuromorphic morphology that supports hierarchical computations in which each level of the hierarchy enacts a coarse-graining of its inputs, and dually a fine-graining of its outputs....

Conceptual and mathematical models of neurons have lagged behind empirical understanding for decades. Here we extend previous work in modeling biological systems with fully scale-independent quantum information-theoretic tools to develop a uniform, scalable representation of synapses, dendritic and axonal processes, neurons, and local networks of n...

Our work intends to show that: (1) Quantum Neural Networks (QNNs) can be mapped onto spin-networks, with the consequence that the level of analysis of their operation can be carried out on the side of Topological Quantum Field Theory (TQFT); (2) A number of Machine Learning (ML) key-concepts can be rephrased by using the terminology of TQFT. Our fr...

We introduce novel methods for implementing generic quantum information within a scale-free architecture. For a given observable system, we show how observational outcomes are taken to be finite bit strings induced by measurement operators derived from a holographic screen bounding the system. In this framework, measurements of identified systems w...

Conceptual and mathematical models of neurons have lagged behind empirical understanding for decades. Here we extend previous work in modeling biological systems with fully scale-independent quantum information-theoretic tools to develop a uniform, scalable representation of synapses, dendritic and axonal processes, neurons, and local networks of n...

The Free Energy Principle (FEP) states that under suitable conditions of weak coupling, random dynamical systems with sufficient degrees of freedom will behave so as to minimize an upper bound, formalized as a variational free energy, on surprisal (a.k.a., self-information). This upper bound can be read as a Bayesian prediction error. Equivalently,...

Theories of consciousness and cognition that assume a neural substrate automatically regard phylogenetically basal, nonneural systems as nonconscious and noncognitive. Here, we advance a scale-free characterization of consciousness and cognition that regards basal systems, including synthetic constructs, as not only informative about the structure...

Biological information processing is generally assumed to be classical. Measured cellular energy budgets of both prokaryotes and eukaryotes, however, fall orders of magnitude short of the power required to maintain classical states of protein conformation and localization at the Å, fs scales predicted by single-molecule decoherence calculations and...

We show that a generalized version of the holographic principle can be derived from the Hamiltonian description of information flow within a quantum system that maintains a separable state. We then show that this generalized holographic principle entails a general principle of gauge invariance. When this is realized in an ambient Lorentzian space-t...

Philosophy and AI have had a difficult relationship from the beginning. The “classic” period from 1950 to 2000 saw four major conflicts, first about the logical coherence of AI as an endeavor, and then about architecture, semantics, and the Frame Problem. Since 2000, these early debates have been largely replaced by arguments about consciousness an...

Biological information processing is generally assumed to be classical. Measured cellular energy budgets of both prokaryotes and eukaryotes, however, fall orders of magnitude short of the power required to maintain classical states of protein conformation and localization at the \AA, fs scales predicted by single-molecule decoherence calculations a...

Any interaction between finite quantum systems in a separable joint state can be viewed as encoding classical information on an induced holographic screen. Here we show that when such an interaction is represented as a measurement, the quantum reference frames (QRFs) deployed to identify systems and pick out their pointer states induce decoherence,...

Regeneration requires the production of large numbers of new cells, and thus cell division regulators, particularly ERK signaling, are critical in regulating this process. In the highly regenerative planarian flatworm, questions remain as to whether ERK signaling controls overall regeneration or plays a head-specific role. Here we show that ERK inh...

Does natural selection favor veridical percepts—those that accurately (if not exhaustively) depict objective reality? Perceptual and cognitive scientists standardly claim that it does. Here we formalize this claim using the tools of evolutionary game theory and Bayesian decision theory. We state and prove the “Fitness-Beats-Truth (FBT) Theorem” whi...

Meaning has traditionally been regarded as a problem for philosophers and psychologists. Advances in cognitive science since the early 1960s, however, broadened discussions of meaning, or more technically, the semantics of perceptions, representations, and/or actions, into biology and computer science. Here, we review the notion of “meaning” as it...

Recent theories developing broad notions of context and its effects on inference are becoming increasingly important in fields as diverse as cognitive psychology, information science and quantum information theory and computing. Here we introduce a novel and general approach to the characterisation of contextuality using the techniques of Chu space...

Animals that can reproduce vegetatively by fission or budding and also sexually via specialized gametes are found in all five primary animal lineages (Bilateria, Cnidaria, Ctenophora, Placozoa, Porifera). Many bilaterian lineages, including roundworms, insects, and most chordates, have lost the capability of vegetative reproduction and are obligate...

We apply previously developed Chu space and Channel Theory methods, focusing on the construction of Cone-Cocone Diagrams (CCCDs), to study the role of epistemic feelings, particularly feelings of confidence, in dual process models of problem solving. We specifically consider “Bayesian brain” models of probabilistic inference within a global neurona...

Gilead et al. propose an ontology of abstract representations based on folk-psychological conceptions of cognitive architecture. There is, however, no evidence that the experience of cognition reveals the architecture of cognition. Scale-free architectural models propose that cognition has the same computational architecture from sub-cellular to wh...

The ideas of classical communication and holographic encoding arise in different parts of physics. Here, we show that they are equivalent. This allows for us to reformulate the holographic principle independently of spacetime, as the principle that holographic screens encode interaction eigenvalues.

When the history of life on earth is viewed as a history of cell division, all of life becomes a single cell lineage. The growth and differentiation of this lineage in reciprocal interaction with its environment can be viewed as a developmental process; hence the evolution of life on earth can also be seen as the development of life on earth. Here,...

Descriptions of measurement typically neglect the observations required to identify the apparatus employed to either prepare or register the final state of the “system of interest.” Here, we employ category-theoretic methods, particularly the theory of classifiers, to characterize the full interaction between observer and world in terms of informat...

A theory of consciousness, whatever else it may do, must address the structure of experience. Our perceptual experiences are richly structured. Simply seeing a red apple, swaying between green leaves on a stout tree, involves symmetries, geometries, orders, topologies, and algebras of events. Are these structures also present in the world, fully in...

We show that a generalized version of the holographic principle can be derived from the Hamiltonian description of information flow within a quantum system that maintains a separable state. We then show that this generalized holographic principle entails a general principle of gauge invariance. When this is realized in an ambient Lorentzian space-t...

Metazoan body plans combine well-defined primary, secondary, and in many bilaterians, tertiary body axes with structural asymmetries at multiple scales. Despite decades of study, how axis-defining symmetries and system-defining asymmetries co-emerge during both evolution and development remain open questions. Regeneration studies in asexual planari...

Nervous systems are traditionally thought of as providing sensing and behavioral coordination functions at the level of the whole organism. What is the evolutionary origin of the mechanisms enabling the nervous systems' information processing ability? Here, we review evidence from evolutionary, developmental, and regenerative biology suggesting a d...

We show that sharing a quantum reference frame requires sharing measurement operators that identify the reference frame in addition to operators that measure its state. Observers restricted to finite resources cannot, in general, operationally determine that they share such operators. Uncertainty about whether system-identification operators are sh...

The relationship between philosophy and research on artificial intelligence (AI) has been difficult since its beginning, with mutual misunderstanding and sometimes even hostility. By contrast, we show how an approach informed by both philosophy and AI can be productive. After reviewing some popular frameworks for computation and learning, we apply...

Adaptive success in the biosphere requires the dynamic ability to adjust physiological, transcriptional, and behavioral responses to environmental conditions. From chemical networks to organisms to whole communities, biological entities at all levels of organization seek to optimize their predictive power. Here, we argue that this fundamental drive...

Standard semi-classical models of decoherence do not take explicit account of the classical information required to specify the system - environment boundary. I show that this information can be represented as a finite set of reference eigenvalues that must be encoded by any observer, including any apparatus, able to distinguish the system from its...

Axial patterning during planarian regeneration relies on a transcriptional circuit that confers distinct positional information on the two ends of an amputated fragment. The earliest known elements of this system begin demarcating differences between anterior and posterior wounds by 6 h postamputation. However, it is still unknown what upstream eve...

Chu Spaces and Channel Theory are well-established areas of investigation in the general context of category theory when applied to semantically-based information flow. In this Part I of a two-part work, we review a range of related concepts and examples showing how these methods can be applied to logic and computer science, including Formal Concep...

The concept of a “system” is foundational to physics, but the question of how observers identify systems is seldom addressed. Classical thermodynamics restricts observers to finite, finite-resolution observations with which to identify the systems on which “pointer state” measurements are to be made. It is shown that system identification is at bes...

Multiple sciences have converged, in the past two decades, on a hitherto mostly unremarked question: what is observation? Here, I examine this evolution, focusing on three sciences: physics, especially quantum information theory, developmental biology, especially its molecular and “evo-devo” branches, and cognitive science, especially perceptual ps...

Freshwater planaria (Platyhelminthes, Turbellaria, Tricladida) pose a challenge to current concepts of biological individuality. We review molecular and developmental evidence suggesting that mature intact planaria are not biological individuals but their totipotent stem cells (neoblasts) are individuals. Neoblasts within a single planarian body ar...

Chu Spaces and Channel Theory are well established areas of investigation in the general context of category theory. We review a range of examples and applications of these methods in logic and computer science, including Formal Concept Analysis, distributed systems and ontology development. We then employ these methods to describe human object per...

The cover image, by Chris Fields and Michael Levin, is based on Overview Multiscale memory and bioelectric error correction in the cytoplasm–cytoskeleton‐membrane system, DOI: 10.1002/wsbm.1410.

A fundamental aspect of life is the modification of anatomy, physiology, and behavior in the face of changing conditions. This is especially illustrated by the adaptive regulation of growth and form that underlies the ability of most organisms—from single cells to complex large metazoa—to develop, remodel, and regenerate to specific anatomical patt...

Networks of “conscious agents” (CAs) as defined by Hoffman and Prakash (2014) are shown to provide a robust and intuitive representation of perceptual and cognitive processes in the context of the Interface Theory of Perception (Hoffman, Singh and Prakash, 2015). The behavior of the simplest CA networks is analyzed exhaustively. The construction of...

Context • The evolution of perceptual systems and hence of observers remains largely disconnected from the question of the emergence of classical objects and spacetime. This disconnection between the biosciences and physics impedes progress toward understanding the role of the "observer" in physical theory. Problem • In this article we consider the...

We show that regenerating planarians’ normal anterior-posterior pattern can be permanently rewritten by a brief perturbation of endogenous bioelectrical networks. Temporary modulation of regenerative bioelectric dynamics in amputated trunk fragments of planaria stochastically results in a constant ratio of regenerates with two heads to regenerates...

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is increasingly being conceptualized as a spectrum disorder of connectome development. We review evidence suggesting that ASD is characterized by a positive feedback loop that amplifies small functional variations in early-developing sensory-processing pathways into structural and functional imbalances in the global n...

Within the quantum Darwinist framework introduced by W. H. Zurek ({\em Nat. Phys.}, 5:181-188, 2009), observers obtain pointer-state information about quantum systems by interacting with a local sample of the surrounding environment, e.g. a local sample of the ambient photon field. Because the environment encodes such pointer state information unif...

Human beings do not observe the world from the outside, but rather are fully embedded in it. The sciences, however, often give the observer both a “god’s eye” perspective and substantial a priori knowledge. Motivated by W. Ross Ashby’s statement, “the theory of the Black Box is merely the theory of real objects or systems, when close attention is g...

Decompositional equivalence is the principle that there is no preferred decomposition of the universe into subsystems. It is shown here, by using simple thought experiments, that quantum theory follows from decompositional equivalence together with Landauer's principle. This demonstration raises within physics a question previously left to psycholo...

The sciences occasionally generate discoveries that undermine their own assumptions. Two such discoveries are characterized here: the discovery of apophenia by cognitive psychology and the discovery that physical systems cannot be locally bounded within quantum theory. It is shown that such discoveries have a common structure and that this common s...

Two open questions about the visual re-identification of individual objects over extended time periods are briefly reviewed: (1) How much a priori information about the nature of objects, identity and time is required to support robust individual object re-identification abilities? and (2) how do epistemic feelings, such as the feeling of familiari...

Does perception hide the truth? Information theory, computer science, and quantum theory all suggest that the answer is "yes." They suggest, indeed, that useful perception is only feasible because the truth can be hidden.

A time-dependent centrality metric for disciplinary coauthorship graphs, the “Nobel number” for a discipline, is introduced. A researcher's Nobel number for a given discipline in a given year is defined as the researcher's average coauthorship distance to that discipline's Nobel laureates in that year. Plotting Nobel numbers over several decades pr...

Between 1991 and 2010, 45 scientists were honored with Nobel prizes in Physiology or Medicine. It is shown that these 45 Nobel laureates are separated, on average, by at most 2.8 co-authorship steps from at least one cross-disciplinary broker, defined as a researcher who has published co-authored papers both in some biomedical discipline and in som...

It is shown that winners of the A. M. Turing Award or the John von Neumann Medal, both of which recognize achievement in computer science, are separated from some other A. M. Turing Award or John von Neumann Medal winner by at most 1.4 co-authorship steps on average, and from some cross-disciplinary broker, and hence from some discipline other than...

Within the quantum Darwinist framework introduced by W. H. Zurek ({\em Nat.
Phys.}, 5:181-188, 2009), observers obtain pointer-state information about
quantum systems by interacting with the surrounding environment, e.g. the
ambient photon field. This framework is applied to the observation of stellar
center-of-mass positions, which are assumed to...

Cycles that cross two or more boundaries between disciplines in the co-authorship graph for all of science are used to set upper limits on the number of co-authored papers required to cross 15 disciplines or subdisciplines ranging from macroeconomics to neurology. The upper limits obtained range from one (discrete mathematics, macroeconomics and nu...

In addition to the immediate microenvironment, long-range signaling may be an important component of cancer. Molecular-genetic analyses have implicated gap junctions—key mediators of cell-cell communication—in carcinogenesis. We recently showed that the resting voltage potential of distant cell groups is a key determinant of metastatic transformati...

It is shown that no-signalling, a quantum of action, unitarity, detailed
balance, Bell's theorem, the Hilbert-space representation of physical states
and the Born rule all follow from the assumption of an additive Hamiltonian
together with Landauer's principle. Common statements of the "classical limit"
of quantum theory, as well as common assumpti...

The well-documented human bias toward agency as a cause and therefore an explanation of observed events is typically attributed to evolutionary selection for a “social brain”. Based on a review of developmental and adult behavioral and neurocognitive data, it is argued that the bias toward agency is a result of the default human solution, developed...

The Human Genome Project introduced large-scale collaborations involving dozens to hundreds of scientists into biology. It also created a pressing need to solve discrete mathematics problems involving tens of thousands of elements. In this paper, we use minimal path lengths in the Erd˝ os Collaboration Graph between prominent individual researchers...

The symbol grounding problem is the problem of specifying a semantics for the representations employed by a physical symbol system in a way that is neither circular nor regressive. The quantum system identification problem is the problem of relating observational outcomes to specific collections of physical degrees of freedom, i.e., to specific Hil...

It is shown that unitary quantum theory is not only consistent with but
follows from decompositional equivalence: the principle that there is no
preferred decomposition of the universe into systems, or alternatively, that
there is no preferred quantum reference frame. Decompositional equivalence
requires unitary quantum theory to be both observer-...

By taking the need for quantum reference frames into account, it is shown
that Hilbert-space factorization is a dissipative process requiring on the
order of kT to reduce by one bit an observer's uncertainty in the provenance of
a classically-recorded observational outcome. This cost is neglected in
standard treatments of decoherence that assume th...

Both standard formulations of the frame problem and standard solutions implicitly assume that the re-identification of objects as persisting individuals between pre- and post-action contexts is unproblematic. In the case of human beings, this assumption is false: humans dedicate considerable cognitive resources to object re-identification. An analy...

Smith and Brogaard ('A unified theory of truth and reference' Logique et Analyse 43 (2003) 49-93) proposed a resolution of the problem of referential ambiguity based on the use of mereotopological partitions. It is shown that this proposed resolution is circular if viewed ontologically and intractable if viewed epistemologically.

It is shown that the paradoxes of quantum theory can be traced to an assumption that observers can know which physical degrees of freedom are causally responsible for each of their experiences. The untenability of this assumption is demonstrated, and a quantum theory without it is proposed. Removing this assumption from quantum theory sheds new lig...