# EP/I026614/1 - Physical foundations of information processing

Research Perspectives grant details from EPSRC portfolio

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Research Perspectives grant details from EPSRC portfolio

Principal Investigator - Mathematics, University of Bristol

Start Date

04/2011

End Date

03/2014

Value

£233,503

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Summary and Description of the grant

The quantum theory is the most accurate and successful theory that we have. Still its set of axioms describes the mathematical formalism used rather than reasons for why the theory is as it is. This is one of the reasons that leads to our problems with understanding the world at microscale. Since every experiment can be viewed as an information processing protocol (with settings being the inputs and the results being the outputs), finding the principles that govern the processing of the information by quantum systems is equivalent to finding the principles underlying the quantum theory.To this end we must complete three steps. First, the candidates for such principles should be identified. Then the resources allowed by chosen principles must be fully characterized. By this we mean describing the set of all the possible probability distributions of outcomes conditioned on the settings. Finally we must compare these resources with the ones allowed by quantum mechanics. If they are identical then we have successfully derived quantum mechanics from information theoretic principles. My research is concentrated on these three steps.While identifying candidates for principles that underlie quantum mechanics the choice is made according to some rules. First, the principle should be reasonable. Otherwise one always can choose the world is such that the quantum mechanics must be true as a principle. Second, it should be true in our universe. Finally, it has to impose nontrivial requirements on acceptable probability distributions.In the second step characterization of resources is done. This is highly nontrivial task and, usually, the better principle the harder. Each principle can be connected with some corresponding task and the violation of this principle is equivalent to performing this task with better than critical efficiency. Often the only known way to put restrictions on resources available is to propose a protocol which uses them and tries to complete this task. Therefore the main objective of this step is to find protocols which are optimal for testing chosen principles.Even if we have good characterization of the resources allowed by each principle in consideration comparing them with quantum ones is not easy. The reason for this is the lack of good characterization of the quantum resources. The only know algorithm for deciding if the resource is allowed by quantum mechanics gives only negative answers in finite time (if the resource is quantum one has to wait infinitely long for the answer). Therefore, other methods of comparison must be devised.

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Grant Event Details:

Name: Physical foundations of information processing - EP/I026614/1

Start Date: 2011-04-01T00:00:00+00:00

End Date: 2014-03-31T00:00:00+00:00

Organization: University of Bristol

Description: The quantum theory is the most accurate and successful theory that we have. Still its set of axioms describes the mathematical formalism used rather than reasons for why the theory is as it is. This is one of the reasons that leads to our problems with und ...