Chris Fields

Chris Fields
chrisfieldsresearch.com

PhD

About

225
Publications
15,956
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5,145
Citations
Introduction
Additional affiliations
October 1994 - August 1996
National Center for Genome Resources
Position
  • Managing Director

Publications

Publications (225)
Article
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...
Article
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...
Preprint
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...
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Full-text available
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...
Preprint
Full-text available
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,...
Article
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...
Article
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...
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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...
Article
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...
Preprint
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...
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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,...
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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...
Article
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...
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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...
Article
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...
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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...
Article
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...
Article
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...
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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.
Article
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,...
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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...
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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...
Preprint
Full-text available
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...
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Full-text available
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...
Article
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...
Preprint
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...
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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...
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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...
Preprint
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...
Article
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...
Article
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...
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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...
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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...
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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...
Article
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...
Article
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.
Article
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...
Article
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...
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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...
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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...
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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...
Article
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...
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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...
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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...
Article
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...
Article
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.
Article
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...
Article
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...
Article
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...
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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...
Article
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...
Article
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...
Article
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...
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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...
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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...
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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...
Article
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-...
Article
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...
Article
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...
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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.
Article
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...
Article
By imposing system-observer symmetry on the von Neumann description of measurement, it is shown that the quantum measurement problem is structurally equivalent to a familiar reverse-engineering problem: that of describing the behavior of an arbitrary physical device as algorithm instantiation. It is suggested that this problem can at best be given...
Article
The common practice of advancing arguments based on current physics in support of metaphysical conclusions has been criticized on the grounds that current physics may well be wrong. A further criticism is leveled here: current physics itself depends on metaphysical assumptions, so arguing from current physics is in fact arguing from yet more metaph...
Article
Infant abilities to re-identify objects through time have been characterized in terms of a ''principle of persistence'' [Baillargeon (2008): Perspectives on Psychological Science, 3, 2-13]. It is argued that the proposed principle of persistence has neither theoretical content nor explanatory power, and that object persistence is itself not an expl...
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It is shown that the restrictions of what can be inferred from classically recorded observational outcomes that are imposed by the no-cloning theorem, the Kochen-Specker theorem and Bell’s theorem also follow from restrictions on inferences from observations formulated within classical automata theory. Similarities between the assumptions underlyin...
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The theory of computation and category theory both employ arrow-based notations that suggest that the basic metaphor "state changes are like motions" plays a fundamental role in all mathematical reasoning involving formal manipulations. If this is correct, structure-mapping inferences implemented by the pre-motor action planning system can be expec...
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The question of what constitutes a ‘system’ is foundational to quantum measurement theory. Environment-induced superselection or ‘einselection’ has been proposed as an observer-independent mechanism by which apparently classical systems ‘emerge’ from physical interactions between degrees of freedom described completely quantum mechanically. It is s...
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The contributions of feature recognition, object categorization, and recollection of episodic memories to the re-identification of a perceived object as the very same thing encountered in a previous perceptual episode are well understood in terms of both cognitive-behavioral phenomenology and neurofunctional implementation. Human beings do not, how...
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Observations of quantum systems carried out by finite observers who subsequently communicate their results using classical data structures can be described as "local operations, classical communication" (LOCC) observations. The implementation of LOCC observations by the Hamiltonian dynamics prescribed by minimal quantum mechanics is investigated. I...
Article
Experience-dependent learning of feature-based object categories, including entry-level categories such as "human being" and more specialized categories such as "family member", "pet" or "toy", is required to support correct object re-identification over time and hence to support social bonding, language learning, and the development of general lif...
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It is standardly assumed in discussions of quantum theory that physical systems can be regarded as having well-defined Hilbert spaces. It is shown here that a Hilbert space can be consistently partitioned only if its components are assumed not to interact. The assumption that physical systems have well-defined Hilbert spaces is, therefore, physical...
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Tool-improvisation analogies are structure-mapping inferences implemented, in many species, by event-file binding and pre-motor action planning. These processes act on multi-modal representations of currently perceived situations and eventuate in motor acts that can be directly evaluated for success or failure; they employ implicit representations...
Article
Full-text available
It is shown that the restrictions of what can be inferred from classically-recorded observational outcomes that are imposed by the no-cloning theorem, the Kochen-Specker theorem and Bell's theorem also follow from restrictions on inferences from observations formulated within classical automata theory. Similarities between the assumptions underlyin...
Book
A timely book for DNA researchers, Automated DNA Sequencing and Analysis reviews and assesses the state of the art of automated DNA sequence analysis-from the construction of clone libraries to the developmentof laboratory and community databases. It presents the methodologies and strategies of automated DNA sequence analysis in a way that allows t...
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Interpretations of quantum theory have traditionally assumed a "Galilean" observer, a bare "point of view" implemented physically by a quantum system. This paper investigates the consequences of replacing such an informationally-impoverished observer with an observer that satisfies the requirements of classical automata theory, i.e. an observer tha...
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Quantum Bayesianism ("QBism") has been put forward as an approach to quantum theory that avoids foundational problems by altogether disavowing the objective existence of quantum states. It is shown that QBism suffers its own versions of the familiar foundational problems, and that these QBist versions are illuminating not just for QBism, but for mo...
Article
Hyper-systemizers are individuals displaying an unusually strong bias toward systemizing, i.e. toward explaining events and solving problems by appeal to mechanisms that do not involve intentions or agency. Hyper-systemizing in combination with deficit mentalizing capability typically presents clinically as an autism spectrum disorder; however, the...
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The perception of persisting visual objects is mediated by transient intermediate representations, object files, that are instantiated in response to some, but not all, visual trajectories. The standard object file concept does not, however, provide a mechanism sufficient to account for all experimental data on visual object persistence, object tra...
Article
Structure-mapping inferences are generally regarded as dependent upon relational concepts that are understood and expressible in language by subjects capable of analogical reasoning. However, tool-improvisation inferences are executed by members of a variety of non-human primate and other species. Tool improvisation requires correctly inferring the...
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The Ollivier-Poulin-Zurek definition of objectivity provides a philosophical basis for the environment as witness formulation of decoherence theory and hence for quantum Darwinism. It is shown that no account of the reference of the key terms in this definition can be given that does not render the definition either empty or circular. It is argued...
Article
Five physical assumptions are proposed that together entail the general qualitative results, including the Born rule, of non-relativistic quantum mechanics by physical and information-theoretic reasoning alone. Two of these assumptions concern fundamental symmetries of physical interactions. The third concerns the Hilbert-space dimensions and the f...
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Quantum Darwinism is an explicit and detailed theory of the emergence of the classical world from the unitary dynamics of a quantum-mechanical universe. It postulates an environment that enforces strong decoherence, and shows that such an environment will redundantly encode effectively classical information about macroscopic systems that can be ind...
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Multiple observers who interact with environmental encodings of the states of a macroscopic quantum system S as required by quantum Darwinism cannot demonstrate that they are jointly observing S without a joint a priori assumption of a classical boundary separating S from its environment E. Quantum Darwinism cannot, therefore, be regarded as provid...
Article
Model-independent semantic requirements for user specification and interpretation of data before and after quantum computations are characterized. Classical computational costs of assigning classical data values to quantum registers and to run-time parameters passed across a classical-to-quantum application programming interface are derived. It is...
Article
Both classical and quantum mechanics assume that physical laws are invariant under changes in the way that the world is labeled. This Principle of Decompositional Equivalence is formalized, and shown to forbid finite experimental demonstrations that given pointer states |p1> and |p2> refer to the same physical system S. It is then shown that any ex...
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Observers restricted to the observation of pointer states of apparatus cannot conclusively demonstrate that the pointer of an apparatus A registers the state of a system of interest S without perturbing S. Observers cannot, therefore, conclusively demonstrate that the states of a system S are redundantly encoded by pointer states of multiple indepe...
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Electron-positron pair-production data obtained by bombardment of emulsion detectors with either cosmic rays or projectiles with mass between one and 207 and kinetic energies between 18 GeV and 32 TeV have been re-analysed using a consistent and conservative model of the background from electromagnetic pair conversion. The combined data yield a spe...