July 2020

Algebraic complete axiomatisation of ZX-calculus with a normal form via elementary matrioperations

In this paper we give a complete axiomatisation of qubit ZX-calculus via elementary transformations which are basic operations in linear algebra. This formalism has two main advantages. First, all the operations of the phases are algebraic ones without trigonometry functions involved, thus paved the way for generalising complete axiomatisation of qubit ZX-calculus to qudit ZX-calculus and ZX-calculus over commutative semirings. Second, we characterise elementary transformations in terms of Zdiagrams, so a lot of linear algebra stuff can be done purely diagrammatically.

Edge modes of gravity. Part III. Corner simplicity constraints

In the tetrad formulation of gravity, the so-called simplicity constraints play a central role. They appear in the Hamiltonian analysis of the theory, and in the Lagrangian path integral when constructing the gravity partition function from topological BF theory. We develop here a systematic analysis of the corner symplectic structure encoding the symmetry algebra of gravity, and perform a thorough analysis of the simplicity constraints. Starting from a precursor phase space with Poincar’e and Heisenberg symmetry, we obtain the corner phase space of BF theory by imposing kinematical constraints. This amounts to fixing the Heisenberg frame with a choice of position and spin operators. The simplicity constraints then further reduce the Poincar’e symmetry of the BF phase space to a Lorentz subalgebra. This picture provides a particle-like description of (quantum) geometry: The internal normal plays the role of the four-momentum, the Barbero-Immirzi parameter that of the mass, the fluthat of a relativistic position, and the frame that of a spin harmonic oscillator. Moreover, we show that the corner area element corresponds to the Poincar’e spin Casimir. We achieve this central result by properly splitting, in the continuum, the corner simplicity constraints into first and second class parts. We construct the complete set of Dirac observables, which includes the generators of the local $mathfrak{sl}(2,mathbb{C})$ subalgebra of Poincar’e, and the components of the tangential corner metric satisfying an $mathfrak{sl}(2,mathbb{R})$ algebra. We then present a preliminary analysis of the covariant and continuous irreducible representations of the infinite-dimensional corner algebra. Moreover, as an alternative path to quantization, we also introduce a regularization of the corner algebra and interpret this discrete setting in terms of an extended notion of twisted geometries.

Asymptotics of lowest unitary SL(2,C) invariants on graphs

We describe a technique to study the asymptotics of SL(2,C) invariant tensors associated to graphs, with unitary irreps and lowest SU(2) spins, and apply it to the Lorentzian EPRL-KKL (Engle, Pereira, Rovelli, Livine; Kaminski, Kieselowski, Lewandowski) model of quantum gravity. We reproduce the known asymptotics of the 4-simplegraph with a different perspective on the geometric variables and introduce an algorithm valid for any graph. On general grounds, we find that critical configurations are not just Regge geometries, but a larger set corresponding to conformal twisted geometries. These can be either Euclidean or Lorentzian, and include curved and flat 4d polytopes as subsets. For modular graphs, we show that multiple pairs of critical points exist, and there exist critical configurations of mixed signature, Euclidean and Lorentzian in different subgraphs, with no 4d embedding possible.

An experiment to test the discreteness of time

Time at the Planck scale ($sim 10^{-44},mathrm{s}$) is an unexplored physical regime. It is widely believed that probing Planck time will remain for long an impossible task. Yet, we propose an experiment to test the discreteness of time at the Planck scale and estimate that it is not far removed from current technological capabilities.

Agency in Physics

I discuss three aspects of the notion of agency from the standpoint of physics: (i) what makes a physical system an agent; (ii) the reason for agency’s time orientation; (iii) the source of the information generated in choosing an action. I observe that agency is the breaking of an approximation under which dynamics appears closed. I distinguish different notions of agency, and observe that the answer to the questions above differ in different cases. I notice a structural similarity between agency and memory, that allows us to model agency, trace its time asymmetry to thermodynamical irreversibility, and identify the source of the information generated by agency in the growth of entropy. Agency is therefore a physical mechanism that transforms low entropy into information. This may be the general mechanism at the source of the whole information on which biology builds.

Experimental Quantum Communication Enhancement by Superposing Trajectories

In quantum communication networks, wires represent well-defined trajectories along which quantum systems are transmitted. In spite of this, trajectories can be used as a quantum control to govern the order of different noisy communication channels, and such a control has been shown to enable the transmission of information even when quantum communication protocols through well-defined trajectories fail. This result has motivated further investigations on the role of the superposition of trajectories in enhancing communication, which revealed that the use of quantum control of parallel communication channels, or of channels in series with quantum-controlled operations, can also lead to communication advantages. Building upon these findings, here we experimentally and numerically compare different ways in which two trajectories through a pair of noisy channels can be superposed. We observe that, within the framework of quantum interfeQILab Rometry, the use of channels in series with quantum-controlled operations generally yields the largest advantages. Our results contribute to clarify the nature of these advantages in experimental quantum-optical scenarios, and showcase the benefit of an extension of the quantum communication paradigm in which both the information exchanged and the trajectory of the information carriers are quantum.

Edge modes of gravity — II: Corner metric and Lorentz charges

In this second paper of the series we continue to spell out a new program for quantum gravity, grounded in the notion of corner symmetry algebra and its representations. Here we focus on tetrad gravity and its corner symplectic potential. We start by performing a detailed decomposition of the various geometrical quantities appearing in BF theory and tetrad gravity. This provides a new decomposition of the symplectic potential of BF theory and the simplicity constraints. We then show that the dynamical variables of the tetrad gravity corner phase space are the internal normal to the spacetime foliation, which is conjugated to the boost generator, and the corner coframe field. This allows us to derive several key results. First, we construct the corner Lorentz charges. In addition to sphere diffeomorphisms, common to all formulations of gravity, these charges add a local $mathfrak{sl}(2,mathbb{C})$ component to the corner symmetry algebra of tetrad gravity. Second, we also reveal that the corner metric satisfies a local $mathfrak{sl}(2,mathbb{R})$ algebra, whose Casimir corresponds to the corner area element. Due to the space-like nature of the corner metric, this Casimir belongs to the unitary discrete series, and its spectrum is therefore quantized. This result, which reconciles discreteness of the area spectrum with Lorentz invariance, is proven in the continuum and without resorting to a bulk connection. Third, we show that the corner phase space explains why the simplicity constraints become non-commutative on the corner. This fact requires a reconciliation between the bulk and corner symplectic structures, already in the classical continuum theory. Understanding this leads inevitably to the introduction of edge modes.

Continuous Time Limit of the DTQW in 2D+1 and Plasticity

A Plastic Quantum Walk admits both continuous time and continuous spacetime. The model has been recently proposed by one of the authors in cite{molfetta2019quantum}, leading to a general quantum simulation scheme for simulating fermions in the relativistic and non relativistic regimes. The extension to two physical dimensions is still missing and here, as a novel result, we demonstrate necessary and sufficient conditions concerning which discrete time quantum walks can admit plasticity, showing the resulting Hamiltonians. We consider coin operators as general $4$ parameter unitary matrices, with parameters which are function of the lattice step size $varepsilon$. This dependence on $varepsilon$ encapsulates all functions of $varepsilon$ for which a Taylor series expansion in $varepsilon$ is well defined, making our results very general.