August 2023

Quantum reference frames for an indefinite metric

The current theories of quantum physics and general relativity on their own do not allow us to study situations in which the gravitational source is quantum. Here, we propose a strategy to determine the dynamics of objects in the presence of mass configurations in superposition, and hence an indefinite spacetime metric, using quantum reference frame (QRF) transformations. Specifically, we show that, as long as the mass configurations in the different branches are related via relative-distance-preserving transformations, one can use an extension of the current framework of QRFs to change to a frame in which the mass configuration becomes definite. Assuming covariance of dynamical laws under quantum coordinate transformations, this allows to use known physics to determine the dynamics. We apply this procedure to find the motion of a probe particle and the behavior of clocks near the mass configuration, and thus find the time dilation caused by a gravitating object in superposition.

Matter relative to quantum hypersurfaces

We explore the canonical description of a scalar field as a parameterized field theory on an extended phase space that includes additional embedding fields that characterize spacetime hypersurfaces $mathsf{X}$ relative to which the scalar field is described. This theory is quantized via the Dirac prescription and physical states of the theory are used to define conditional wave functionals $|psi_phi[mathsf{X}]rangle$ interpreted as the state of the field relative to the hypersurface $mathsf{X}$, thereby extending the Page-Wootters formalism to quantum field theory. It is shown that this conditional wave functional satisfies the Tomonaga-Schwinger equation, thus demonstrating the formal equivalence between this extended Page-Wootters formalism and standard quantum field theory. We also construct relational Dirac observables and define a quantum deparameterization of the physical Hilbert space leading to a relational Heisenberg picture, which are both shown to be unitarily equivalent to the Page-Wootters formalism. Moreover, by treating hypersurfaces as quantum reference frames, we extend recently developed quantum frame transformations to changes between classical and nonclassical hypersurfaces. This allows us to exhibit the transformation properties of a quantum field under a larger class of transformations, which leads to a frame-dependent particle creation effect.

Predictive Modelling of Quantum Process with Neural Networks

Complete characterization of an unknown quantum process can be achieved by process tomography, or, for continuous time processes, by Hamiltonian learning. However, such a characterization becomes unfeasible for high dimensional quantum systems. In this paper, we develop the first neural network algorithm for predicting the behavior of an unknown quantum process when applied on a given ensemble of input states. The network is trained with classical data obtained from measurements on a few pairs of input/output quantum states. After training, it can be used to predict the measurement statistics of a set of measurements of interest performed on the output state corresponding to any input in the state ensemble. Besides learning a quantum gate or quantum circuit, our model can also be applied to the task of learning a noisy quantum evolution and predicting the measurement statistics on a time-evolving quantum state. We show numerical results using our neural network model for various relevant processes in quantum computing, quantum many-body physics, and quantum optics.

Sequence Processing with Quantum Tensor Networks

We introduce complex-valued tensor network models for sequence processing motivated by correspondence to probabilistic graphical models, interpretability and resource compression. Inductive bias is introduced to our models via network architecture, and is motivated by the correlation structure inherent in the data, as well as any relevant compositional structure, resulting in tree-like connectivity. Our models are specifically constructed using parameterised quantum circuits, widely used in quantum machine learning, effectively using Hilbert space as a feature space. Furthermore, they are efficiently trainable due to their tree-like structure. We demonstrate experimental results for the task of binary classification of sequences from real-world datasets relevant to natural language and bioinformatics, characterised by long-range correlations and often equipped with syntactic information. Since our models have a valid operational interpretation as quantum processes, we also demonstrate their implementation on Quantinuum’s H2-1 trapped-ion quantum processor, demonstrating the possibility of efficient sequence processing on near-term quantum devices. This work constitutes the first scalable implementation of near-term quantum language processing, providing the tools for large-scale experimentation on the role of tensor structure and syntactic priors. Finally, this work lays the groundwork for generative sequence modelling in a hybrid pipeline where the training may be conducted efficiently in simulation, while sampling from learned probability distributions may be done with polynomial speed-up on quantum devices.

A clarification on prevailing misconceptions in unimodular gravity

The traditional presentation of Unimodular Gravity (UG) consists on indicating that it is an alternative theory of gravity that restricts the generic diffeomorphism invariance of General Relativity. In particular, as often encountered in the literature, unlike General Relativity, Unimodular Gravity is invariant solely under volume-preserving diffeomorphisms. That characterization of UG has led to some confusion and incorrect statements in various treatments on the subject. For instance, sometimes it is claimed (mistakenly) that only spacetime metrics such that $|$det $g_{mu nu}| = 1$ can be considered as valid solutions of the theory. Additionally, that same (incorrect) statement is often invoked to argue that some particular gauges (e.g. the Newtonian or synchronous gauge) are not allowed when dealing with cosmological perturbation theory in UG. The present article is devoted to clarify those and other misconceptions regarding the notion of diffeomorphism invariance, in general, and its usage in the context of UG, in particular.

Hawking radiation for detectors in superposition of locations outside a black hole

Hawking radiation is the proposed thermal black-body radiation of quantum nature emitted from a black hole. One common way to give an account of Hawking radiation is to consider a detector that follows a static trajectory in the vicinity of a black hole and interacts with the quantum field of the radiation. In the present work, we study the Hawking radiation perceived by a detector that follows a quantum superposition of static trajectories in Schwarzschild spacetime, instead of a unique well-defined trajectory. We analyze the quantum state of the detector after the interaction with a massless real scalar field. We find that for certain trajectories and excitation levels, there are non-vanishing coherences in the final state of the detector. We then examine the dependence of these coherences on the trajectories followed by the detector and relate them to the distinguishability of the different possible states in which the field is left after the excitation of the detector. We interpret our results in terms of the spatial distribution and propagation of particles of the quantum field.

Switching quantum reference frames in the N-body problem and the absence of global relational perspectives

Given the importance of quantum reference frames (QRFs) to both quantum and gravitational physics, it is pertinent to develop a systematic method for switching between the descriptions of physics relative to different choices of QRFs, which is valid in both fields. Here we continue with such a unifying approach, begun in arxiv:1809.00556, whose key ingredient is a symmetry principle, which enforces physics to be relational. Thanks to gauge related redundancies, this leads to a perspective-neutral structure which contains all frame choices at once and via which frame perspectives can be consistently switched. Formulated in the language of constrained systems, the perspective-neutral structure is the constraint surface classically and the gauge invariant Hilbert space in the Dirac quantized theory. By contrast, a perspective relative to a specific frame corresponds to a gauge choice and the associated reduced phase and Hilbert space. QRF changes thus amount to a gauge transformation. We show that they take the form of `quantum coordinate changes’. We illustrate this in a general mechanical model, namely the relational $N$-body problem in 3D space with rotational and translational symmetry. This model is especially interesting because it features the Gribov problem so that globally valid gauge fixing conditions, and hence relational frame perspectives, are absent. The constraint surface is topologically non-trivial and foliated by 3-, 5- and 6-dimensional gauge orbits, where the lower dimensional orbits are a set of measure zero. The $N$-body problem also does not admit globally valid canonically conjugate pairs of Dirac observables. These challenges notwithstanding, we exhibit how one can construct the QRF transformations for the 3-body problem. Our construction also sheds new light on the generic inequivalence of Dirac and reduced quantization through its interplay with QRF perspectives.

Commuting operations factorise

Consider two agents, Alice and Bob, each of whom takes a quantum input, operates on a shared quantum system $K$, and produces a quantum output. Alice and Bob’s operations may commute, in the sense that the joint input-output behaviour is independent of the order in which they access $K$. Here we ask whether this commutation property implies that $K$ can be split into two factors on which Alice and Bob act separately. The question can be regarded as a “fully quantum” generalisation of a problem posed by Tsirelson, who considered the case where Alice and Bob’s inputs and outputs are classical. In this case, the answer is negative in general, but it is known that a factorisation exists in finite dimensions. Here we show the same holds in the fully quantum case, i.e., commuting operations factorise, provided that all input systems are finite-dimensional.

Quantum mechanics with real numbers: entanglement, superselection rules and gauges

We show how imaginary numbers in quantum physics can be eliminated by enlarging the Hilbert Space followed by an imposition of – what effectively amounts to – a superselection rule. We illustrate this procedure with a qubit and apply it to the Mach-Zehnder interferometer. The procedure is somewhat reminiscent of the constrained quantization of the electromagnetic field, where, in order to manifestly comply with relativity, one enlargers the Hilbert Space by quantizing the longitudinal and scalar modes, only to subsequently introduce a constraint to make sure that they are actually not directly observable.

Experimental property-reconstruction in a photonic quantum extreme learning machine

Recent developments have led to the possibility of embedding machine learning tools into experimental platforms to address key problems, including the characterization of the properties of quantum states. Leveraging on this, we implement a quantum extreme learning machine in a photonic platform to achieve resource-efficient and accurate characterization of the polarization state of a photon. The underlying reservoir dynamics through which such input state evolves is implemented using the coined quantum walk of high-dimensional photonic orbital angular momentum, and performing projective measurements over a fixed basis. We demonstrate how the reconstruction of an unknown polarization state does not need a careful characterization of the measurement apparatus and is robust to experimental imperfections, thus representing a promising route for resource-economic state characterisation.