September 2021

Quantum Causal Unravelling

Compleprocesses often arise from sequences of simpler interactions involving a few particles at a time. These interactions, however, may not be directly accessible to experiments. Here we develop the first efficient method for unravelling the causal structure of the interactions in a multipartite quantum process, under the assumption that the process has bounded information loss and induces causal dependencies whose strength is above a fixed (but otherwise arbitrary) threshold. Our method is based on a quantum algorithm whose complexity scales polynomially in the total number of input/output systems, in the dimension of the systems involved in each interaction, and in the inverse of the chosen threshold for the strength of the causal dependencies. Under additional assumptions, we also provide a second algorithm that has lower complexity and requires only local state preparation and local measurements. Our algorithms can be used to identify processes that can be characterized efficiently with the technique of quantum process tomography. Similarly, they can be used to identify useful communication channels in quantum networks, and to test the internal structure of uncharacterized quantum circuits.

Process tomography in general physical theories

Process tomography, the experimental characterization of physical processes, is a central task in science and engineering. Here we investigate the axiomatic requirements that guarantee the in-principle feasibility of process tomography in general physical theories. Specifically, we explore the requirement that process tomography should be achievable with a finite number of auxiliary systems and with a finite number of input states. We show that this requirement is satisfied in every theory equipped with universal extensions, that is, correlated states from which all other correlations can be generated locally with non-zero probability. We show that universal extensions are guaranteed to exist in two cases: (1) theories permitting conclusive state teleportation, and (2) theories satisfying three properties of Causality, Pure Product States, and Purification. In case (2), the existence of universal extensions follows from a symmetry property of Purification, whereby all pure bipartite states with the same marginal on one system are locally interconvertible. Crucially, our results hold even in theories that do not satisfy Local Tomography, the property that the state of any composite system can be identified from the correlations of local measurements. Summarizing, the existence of universal extensions, without any additional requirement of Local Tomography, is a sufficient guarantee for the characterizability of physical processes using a finite number of auxiliary systems.

A non-anyonic qudit ZW-calculus

ZW-calculus is a useful graphical language for pure qubit quantum computing. It is via the translation of the completeness of ZW-calculus that the first proof of completeness of ZX-calculus was obtained. A d-level generalisation of qubit ZW-calculus (anyonic qudit ZW-calculus) has been given in [Hadzihasanovic 2017] which is universal for pure qudit quantum computing. However, the interpretation of the W spider in this type of ZW-calculus has so-called q-binomial coefficients involved, thus makes computation quite complicated. In this paper, we give a new type of qudit ZW-calculus which has generators and rewriting rules similar to that of the qubit ZW-calculus. Especially, the Z spider is exactly the same as that of the qudit ZX-calculus as given in [Wang 2021], and the new W spider has much simpler interpretation as a linear map. Furthermore, we establish a translation between this qudit ZW-calculus and the qudit ZX-calculus which is universal as shown in [Wang 2021], therefore this qudit ZW-calculus is also universal for pure qudit quantum computing.

The Relational Interpretation of Quantum Physics

The relational interpretation (or RQM, for Relational Quantum Mechanics) solves the measurement problem by considering an ontology of sparse relative events, or “facts”. Facts are realized in interactions between any two physical systems and are relative to these systems. RQM’s technical core is the realisation that quantum transition amplitudes determine physical probabilities only when their arguments are facts relative to the same system. The relativity of facts can be neglected in the approximation where decoherence hides interference, thus making facts approximately stable.

Addressable quantum gates

We extend the circuit model of quantum computation so that the wiring between gates is soft-coded within registers inside the gates. The addresses in these registers can be manipulated and put into superpositions. This aims at capturing indefinite causal orders and making their geometrical layout explicit: we express the quantum switch and the polarizing beam-splitter within the model. In this context, our main contribution is a full characterization of the anonymity constraints. Indeed, the names used as addresses should not matter beyond the wiring they describe, i.e. quantum evolutions should commute with “renamings”. We show that these quantum evolutions can still act non-trivially upon the names. We specify the structure of “nameblind” matrices.

Substantive general covariance and the Einstein-Klein dispute: A Noetherian approach

Famously, Klein and Einstein were embroiled in an epistolary dispute over whether General Relativity has any physically meaningful conserved quantities. In this paper, we explore the consequences of Noether’s second theorem for this debate, and connect it to Einstein’s search for a `substantive’ version of general covariance as well as his quest to extend the Principle of Relativity. We will argue that Noether’s second theorem provides a clear way to distinguish between theories in which gauge or diffeomorphism symmetry is doing real work in defining charges, as opposed to cases in which this symmetry stems from Kretchmannization. Finally, we comment on the relationship between this Noetherian form of substantive general covariance and the notion of `background independence’.

Quantum violation of local causality in urban network with hybrid photonic technologies

Quantum networks play a crucial role for distributed quantum information processing, enabling the establishment of entanglement and quantum communication among distant nodes. Fundamentally, networks with independent sources allow for new forms of nonlocality, beyond the paradigmatic Bell’s theorem. Here we implement the simplest of such networks — the bilocality scenario — in an urban network connecting different buildings with a fully scalable and hybrid approach. Two independent sources using different technologies, respectively a quantum dot and a nonlinear crystal, are used to share photonic entangled state among three nodes connected through a 270 m free-space channel and fiber links. By violating a suitable non-linear Bell inequality, we demonstrate the nonlocal behaviour of the correlations among the nodes of the network. Our results pave the way towards the realization of more complenetworks and the implementation of quantum communication protocols in an urban environment, leveraging on the capabilities of hybrid photonic technologies.

Talking Space: inference from spatial linguistic meanings

This paper concerns the intersection of natural language and the physical space around us in which we live, that we observe and/or imagine things within. Many important features of language have spatial connotations, for example, many prepositions (like in, next to, after, on, etc.) are fundamentally spatial. Space is also a key factor of the meanings of many words/phrases/sentences/text, and space is a, if not the key, context for referencing (e.g. pointing) and embodiment. We propose a mechanism for how space and linguistic structure can be made to interact in a matching compositional fashion. Examples include Cartesian space, subway stations, chesspieces on a chess-board, and Penrose’s staircase. The starting point for our construction is the DisCoCat model of compositional natural language meaning, which we relato accommodate physical space. We address the issue of having multiple agents/objects in a space, including the case that each agent has different capabilities with respect to that space, e.g., the specific moves each chesspiece can make, or the different velocities one may be able to reach. Once our model is in place, we show how inferences drawing from the structure of physical space can be made. We also how how linguistic model of space can interact with other such models related to our senses and/or embodiment, such as the conceptual spaces of colour, taste and smell, resulting in a rich compositional model of meaning that is close to human experience and embodiment in the world.

Gravity from symmetry: Duality and impulsive waves

We show that we can derive the asymptotic Einstein’s equations that arises at order $1/r$ in asymptotically flat gravity purely from symmetry considerations. This is achieved by studying the transformation properties of functionals of the metric and the stress-energy tensor under the action of the Weyl BMS group, a recently introduced asymptotic symmetry group that includes arbitrary diffeomorphisms and local conformal transformations of the metric on the 2-sphere. Our derivation, which encompasses the inclusion of matter sources, leads to the identification of covariant observables that provide a definition of conserved charges parametrizing the non-radiative corner phase space. These observables, related to the Weyl scalars, reveal a duality symmetry and a spin-2 generator which allow us to recast the asymptotic evolution equations in a simple and elegant form as conservation equations for a null fluid living at null infinity. Finally we identify non-linear gravitational impulse waves that describe transitions among gravitational vacua and are non-perturbative solutions of the asymptotic Einstein’s equations. This provides a new picture of quantization of the asymptotic phase space, where gravitational vacua are representations of the asymptotic symmetry group and impulsive waves are encoded in their couplings.

Ognyan Oreshkov
Université Libre de Bruxelles

On the arrow of time in quantum mechanics

Abstract: According to quantum mechanics, it is fundamentally impossible to predict with certainty the outcome of a future measurement on a system prepared in a pure state, unless the state is an eigenstate of the observable to be measured. The best prediction is probabilistic, given by the Born rule. This absolute limitation on our ability to predict certain future events constitutes a radical difference from classical mechanics. In the reverse time direction, however, the analogous limitation does not hold: it is in practice possible to know with certainty the outcome of any type of measurement on any type of state, since all such events can have records at present. What is the origin of this time-reversal asymmetry, and how should we think about quantum theory if we believe that a microscopic theory should be time-symmetric?

It has been suggested that quantum theory in its usual predictive form is already time symmetric, if suitably applied back in time, while the observed asymmetry in the information we have about the past and the future can be traced to the thermodynamic irreversibility of macroscopic phenomena. In this talk, adopting a specific operational way of thinking about quantum theory, I will argue that the above asymmetry can be understood as a consequence of a special form of a joint past-future boundary condition at the level of quantum theory itself, without invoking considerations of macroscopic coarse-graining. Improving on an argument originally suggested in [O. Oreshkov and N. J. Cerf, Nature Phys. 11, 853-858 (2015)], I will explain how such a boundary condition implies the inability of a local observer in spacetime to predict future events better than the Born rule, in contrast to past events. I will argue that this can accounts for our perceived ability to influence the future and not the past, as well as to remember the past but not the future, and will speculate on the link between this arrow of time and the thermodynamic arrow. I will argue that a meaningful time-symmetric formulation of quantum theory requires rules that work for all physically admissible situations, hence the Born should be regarded as a special case of a more general rule. Adopting this generalization allows us to reformulate quantum theory in a way that makes sense without predefined time, which may be important for quantum gravity.