Lucien Hardy
Perimeter Institute

A Time Symmetry in Operational Theories

November 18, 2020
Abstract: The standard framework for probabilistic operational theories is time asymmetric. The fact that future choices cannot affect the probability of earlier outcomes is mathematised by the statement that the deterministic effect is unique. However, deterministic preparations are not unique and, correspondingly, earlier choices can influence later probabilities of outcomes. This time asymmetry is rather strange because abstract probability theory knows nothing of time. Furthermore, the Schoedinger equation is time symmetric and, additionally, measurement situations can be treated by very simple models (without invoking the Second Law at all). In this talk I will outline how it is possible to give a time symmetric treatment of operational probabilistic theories with particular application to Quantum Theory. In so doing, we will see that the usual formulation of operational quantum theory is, in some sense, missing half of the picture.
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