Publications

Authors: Lucien Hardy and Adam G. M. Lewis
Year: 2019

We describe how one may go about performing quantum computation with arbitrary “quantum stuff”, as long as it has some basic physical properties. Imagine a long strip of stuff, equipped with regularly spaced wires to provide input settings and to read off outcomes. After showing how the corresponding map from settings to outcomes can be construed as a quantum circuit, we provide a machine learning algorithm to tomographically “learn” which settings implement the members of a universal gate set. At optimum, arbitrary quantum gates, and thus arbitrary quantum programs, can be implemented using the stuff.

Authors: Laurent Freidel, Etera R. Livine and Daniele Pranzetti
Year: 2019

We revisit the canonical framework for general relativity in its connection-vierbein formulation, recasting the Gauss law, the Bianchi identity and the space diffeomorphism bulk constraints as conservation laws for boundary surface charges, respectively electric, magnetic and momentum charges. Partitioning the space manifold into 3D regions glued together through their interfaces, we focus on a single domain and its punctured 2D boundary. The punctures carry a ladder of Kac-Moody edge modes, whose 0-modes represent the electric and momentum charges while the higher modes describe the stringy vibration modes of the 1D-boundary around each puncture. In particular, this allows to identify missing observables in the discretization scheme used in loop quantum gravity and leads to an enhanced theory upgrading spin networks to tube networks carrying Virasoro representations. In the limit where the tubes are contracted to 1D links and the string modes neglected, we do not just recover loop quantum gravity but obtain a more general structure: Poincaré charge networks, which carry a representation of the 3D diffeomorphism boundary charges on top of the SU(2) fluxes and gauge transformations.

Authors: Nitica Sakharwade
Year: 2020

The Causaloid framework [1] is useful to study Theories with Indefinite Causality; since Quantum Gravity is expected to marry the radical aspects of General Relativity (dynamic causality) and Quantum Theory (probabilistic-ness). To operationally study physical theories one finds the minimum set of quantities required to perform any calculation through physical compression. In this framework, there are three levels of compression: 1) Tomographic Compression, 2) Compositional Compression and 3) Meta Compression. We present a diagrammatic representation of the Causaloid framework to facilitate exposition and study Meta compression. We show that there is a hierarchy of theories with respect to Meta compression and characterise its general form. Next, we populate the hierarchy. The theory of circuits forms the simplest case, which we express diagrammatically through Duotensors, following which we construct Triotensors using hyper3wires (hyperedges connecting three operations) for the next rung in the hierarchy. Finally, we discuss the implications for the field of Indefinite Causality. [1] Journal of Physics A: Mathematical and Theoretical, 40(12), 3081

Authors: Laurent Freidel, Marc Geiller and Daniele Pranzetti
Year: 2020

This is the first paper in a series devoted to understanding the classical and quantum nature of edge modes and symmetries in gravitational systems. The goal of this analysis is to: i) achieve a clear understanding of how different formulations of gravity provide non-trivial representations of different sectors of the corner symmetry algebra, and ii) set the foundations of a new proposal for states of quantum geometry as representation states of this corner symmetry algebra. In this first paper we explain how different formulations of gravity, in both metric and tetrad variables, share the same bulk symplectic structure but differ at the corner, and in turn lead to inequivalent representations of the corner symmetry algebra. This provides an organizing criterion for formulations of gravity depending on how big the physical symmetry group that is non-trivially represented at the corner is. This principle can be used as a “treasure map” revealing new clues and routes in the quest for quantum gravity. Building up on these results, we perform a detailed analysis of the corner symplectic potential and symmetries of Einstein-Cartan-Holst gravity in [1], use this to provide a new look at the simplicity constraints in [2], and tackle the quantization in [3].

Authors: Laurent Freidel, Marc Geiller and Daniele Pranzetti
Year: 2020

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 sl(2,C) component to the corner symmetry algebra of tetrad gravity. Second, we also reveal that the corner metric satisfies a local sl(2,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.

Authors: Laurent Freidel, Marc Geiller and Daniele Pranzetti
Year: 2021

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 Poincaré 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 Poincaré 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 flux that of a relativistic position, and the frame that of a spin harmonic oscillator. Moreover, we show that the corner area element corresponds to the Poincaré 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 sl(2,C) subalgebra of Poincaré, and the components of the tangential corner metric satisfying an sl(2,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.

Authors: Lucien Hardy
Year: 2021

The standard operational probabilistic framework (within which we can formulate Operational Quantum Theory) is time asymmetric. This is clear because the conditions on allowed operations are time asymmetric. It is odd, though, because Schoedinger’s equation is time symmetric and probability theory does not care about time direction. In this work we provide a time symmetric framework for operational theories in general and for Quantum Theory in particular. The clearest expression of the time asymmetry of standard Operational Quantum Theory is that the deterministic effect is unique – meaning there is only one way to ignore the future – while deterministic (i.e normalised) states are not unique. In this paper, this time asymmetry is traced back to a time asymmetric understanding of the most basic elements of an operational theory – namely the operations (or boxes) out of which circuits are built. We modify this allowing operations to have classical incomes as well as classical outcomes on these operations. We establish a time symmetric operational framework for circuits built out of operations. In particular, we demand that the probability associated with a circuit is the same whether we calculate it forwards in time or backwards in time. We do this by imposing various double properties. These are properties wherein a forward in time and a backward in time version of the same property are required. In this paper we provide a new causality condition which we call double causality.

Authors: Flaminia Giacomini
Year: 2021

In general relativity, the description of spacetime relies on idealised rods and clocks, which identify a reference frame. In any concrete scenario, reference frames are associated to physical systems, which are ultimately quantum in nature. A relativistic description of the laws of physics hence needs to take into account such quantum reference frames (QRFs), through which spacetime can be given an operational meaning. Here, we introduce the notion of a spacetime QRF, associated to a quantum particle in spacetime. Such formulation has the advantage of treating space and time on equal footing, and of describing the dynamical evolution of a set of quantum systems from the perspective of another quantum system, where the evolution parameter coincides with the proper time of the particle taken as the QRF. Crucially, the proper times in two different QRFs are not related by a standard transformation, but they might be in a quantum superposition. Concretely, we consider N relativistic quantum particles in a weak gravitational field and introduce a timeless formulation in which the global state of the N particles appears “frozen”, but the dynamical evolution is recovered in terms of relational quantities. The position and momentum Hilbert space of the particles is used to fix the QRF via a transformation to the local frame of the particle such that the metric is locally inertial at the origin of the QRF. The internal Hilbert space corresponds to the clock space, keeping the proper time in the local frame of the particle. This fully relational construction shows how the remaining particles evolve from the perspective of the QRF and includes the Page-Wootters mechanism for non interacting clocks when the external degrees of freedom are neglected. Finally, we observe a quantum superposition of gravitational redshifts and a quantum superposition of special-relativistic time dilations in the QRF.

Authors: Sebastian Horvat, Philippe Allard Guerin, Luca Apadula and Flavio Del Santo
Year: 2021

In a standard interferometry experiment, one measures the phase difference between two paths by recombining the two wave packets on a beam-splitter. However, it has been recently recognized that the phase can also be estimated via local measurements, by using an ancillary particle in a known superposition state. In this work, we further analyse these protocols for different types of particles (bosons or fermions, charged or uncharged), with a particular emphasis on the subtleties that arise when the phase is due to the coupling to an abelian gauge field. In that case, we show that the measurable quantities are spacetime loop integrals of the 4-vector potential, enclosed by two identical particles or by a particle-antiparticle pair. Furthermore, we generalize our considerations to scenarios involving an arbitrary number of parties performing local measurements on a general charged fermionic state. Finally, as a concrete application, we analyse a recent proposal by Marletto and Vedral (arXiv:1906.03440) involving the time-dependent Aharonov-Bohm effect.

Authors: Laurent Freidel, Roberto Oliveri, Daniele Pranzetti and Simone Speziale
Year: 2021

We develop the covariant phase space formalism allowing for non-vanishing flux, anomalies and field dependence in the vector field generators. We construct a charge bracket that generalizes the one introduced by Barnich and Troessaert and includes contributions from the Lagrangian and its anomaly. This bracket is uniquely determined by the choice of Lagrangian representative of the theory. We then extend the notion of corner symmetry algebra to include the surface translation symmetries and prove that the charge bracket provides a canonical representation of the extended corner symmetry algebra. This representation property is shown to be equivalent to the projection of the gravitational equations of motion on the corner, providing us with an encoding of the bulk dynamics in a locally holographic manner.

Authors: Laurent Freidel, Roberto Oliveri, Daniele Pranzetti and Simone Speziale
Year: 2021

We propose an extension of the BMS group, which we refer to as Weyl BMS or BMSW for short, that includes, besides super-translations, local Weyl rescalings and arbitrary diffeomorphisms of the 2d sphere metric. After generalizing the Barnich-Troessaert bracket, we show that the Noether charges of the BMSW group provide a centerless representation of the BMSW Lie algebra at every cross section of null infinity. This result is tantamount to proving that the flux-balance laws for the Noether charges imply the validity of the asymptotic Einstein’s equations at null infinity. The extension requires a holographic renormalization procedure, which we construct without any dependence on background fields. The renormalized phase space of null infinity reveals new pairs of conjugate variables. Finally, we show that BMSW group elements label the gravitational vacua.

Authors: Veronika Baumann, Marius Krumm, Philippe Allard Guérin and Časlav Brukner
Year: 2021

One of the most fundamental open problems in physics is the unification of general relativity and quantum theory to a theory of quantum gravity. An aspect that might become relevant in such a theory is that the dynamical nature of causal structure present in general relativity displays quantum uncertainty. This may lead to a phenomenon known as indefinite or quantum causal structure, as captured by the process matrix framework. Due to the generality of that framework, however, for many process matrices there is no clear physical interpretation. A popular approach towards a quantum theory of gravity is the Page-Wootters formalism, which associates to time a Hilbert space structure similar to spatial position. By explicitly introducing a quantum clock, it allows to describe time-evolution of systems via correlations between this clock and said systems encoded in history states. In this paper we combine the process matrix framework with a generalization of the Page-Wootters formalism in which one considers several observers, each with their own discrete quantum clock. We describe how to extract process matrices from scenarios involving such observers with quantum clocks, and analyze their properties. The description via a history state with multiple clocks imposes constraints on the physical implementation of process matrices and on the perspectives of the observers as described via causal reference frames. While it allows for describing scenarios where different definite causal orders are coherently controlled, we explain why certain non-causal processes might not be implementable within this setting.

Authors: Laurent Freidel, Jerzy Kowalski-Glikman, Robert G. Leigh and Djordje Minic
Year: 2021

Quantum gravity effects are traditionally tied to short distances and high energies. In this essay we argue that, perhaps surprisingly, quantum gravity may have important consequences for the phenomenology of the infrared. We center our discussion around a conception of quantum gravity involving a notion of quantum spacetime that arises in metastring theory. This theory allows for an evolution of a cosmological Universe in which string-dual degrees of freedom decouple as the Universe ages. Importantly such an implementation of quantum gravity allows for the inclusion of a fundamental length scale without introducing the fundamental breaking of Lorentz symmetry. The mechanism seems to have potential for an entirely novel source for dark matter/energy. The simplest observational consequences of this scenario may very well be residual infrared modifications that emerge through the evolution of the Universe.