Consistent histories, 7

In quantum mechanics, the consistent histories (also referred to as decoherent histories) approach is intended to give a modern interpretation of quantum mechanics, …

— Wikipedia on Consistent histories

.

It needs to be decoherent in order to be consistent.

— Me@2017-08-08 01:25:54 PM

.

decoherent ~ no quantum superposition

consistent ~ classical logic can apply

— Me@2020-05-30 03:52:15 PM

.

2020.05.30 Saturday (c) All rights reserved by ACHK

Logical arrow of time, 7.2

Microscopically, there is no time arrow.

— Me@2011.06.23

.

No. There is weak force.

— Me@2011.07.22

.

Myth: The arrow of time is a consequence of CP-symmetry violation.

The weak nuclear interactions violate the CP symmetry which is equivalent to saying that they violate the T symmetry. Is it the reason why eggs don’t unbreak? Of course not. There are two basic ways to see why. First, the weak interactions much like all other interactions preserve the CPT symmetry – there is extensive theoretical as well as experimental evidence supporting this assertion. And the CPT symmetry would be enough to show that eggs break as often as unbreak. More precisely, eggs break as often as mirror anti-eggs unbreak. ;-)

— Myths about the arrow of time

— Lubos Motl

.

Weak force’s T-symmetry-violation has nothing to do with the time arrow.

In other words, microscopic time arrow has nothing to do with the macroscopic time arrow.

— Me@2020-03-21 07:56:01 PM

.

About T-violation and the arrow of time: the simple answer is that the weak interactions are perfectly unitary, even if they are not T-invariant. They don’t affect the entropy in any way, so they don’t help with the arrow of time.

A bit more carefully: if you did want to explain the arrow of time using microscopic dynamics, you would have to argue that there exist more solutions to the equations of motion in which entropy grows than solutions in which entropy decreases. But CPT invariance is enough to guarantee that that’s not true. For any trajectory (or ensemble of trajectories, or evolution of a distribution function) in which the entropy changes in one way, there is another trajectory (or set…) in which the entropy changes in precisely the opposite way: the CPT conjugate. Such laws of physics do not in and of themselves pick out what we think of as the arrow of time.

People talk about the “arrow of time of the weak interactions,” but ask yourself: in which direction does it point? There just isn’t any direct relationship to entropy.

— Sean Carroll

.

.

2020.03.21 Saturday (c) All rights reserved by ACHK

Superposition always exists, 2

Decoherence means that the different components in the superposition do not interact with each other, but it does not mean that the components separate to form different macroscopic realities.

.

Just like when a 100-soldier army’s marching gets interrupted, the decoherent soldiers do not form a single army anymore, because their actions become out of sync.

However, they do not become 100 armies either.

Instead, they form a group of 100 random people in the street.

Although now they are out of sync with each other, all original soldiers still exist, forming the (new) average result; all or most of them have become part of the environment.

.

But it is an analogy only. It has an important distinction.

In quantum superposition, we discuss the relationships between different component states of the superposition. Those states exist not in physical space, but in a mathematical space.

In the army analogy, we discuss the relationships between the actions between different material items (solders in this case). Those material items exist in physical space.

.

The unselected eigenstates do not cooperate with other particles to form macroscopic realities.

Although the spirit of the statement is correct, the statement itself is incorrect in multiple senses.

First, an eigenstate is a quantum state. It interferes with other eigenstates, not other particles.

Second, although the “unselected” eigenstates seem to disappear, they actually still exist; they entangles with the environment, which includes the apparatus and measurement devices of that experiment.

— Me@2013.01.01

— Me@2020-02-26 06:49:46 AM

.

In “decoherence means that the different components do not interact with each other”, the meaning of “interact” is not defined yet.

The word should probably be “interfere”, instead of “interact”.

— Me@2020-02-25 10:44:23 PM

.

interference ~ superposition with pattern

Decoherence means that the phase differences between different components in a superposition are not constants anymore. It does not mean that there is no superposition anymore.

Superposition is always there.

What disappears is the interference pattern, not the superposition.

— Me@2019-09-20 06:48:55 AM

.

.

2020.02.26 Wednesday (c) All rights reserved by ACHK

Black hole information paradox, 4

So we seem to have a direct contradiction between [QM and unitarity] and [GR and causality]. Both of these principles, unitarity and causality, cannot be exactly correct because a contradiction arises from their explosive mixture.

.

As most quantum mechanicians have known from the very beginning, it is the unitarity, a principle of quantum mechanics, that wins in the battle and remains universally valid.

On the other hand, causality becomes an approximate principle that is only valid in the limit of infinitely large causal diamonds. In the presence of black holes, the internal causal structure is modified by quantum phenomena and the information can “tunnel” out of the black hole.

.

It shouldn’t be so surprising that unitarity survives completely while causality doesn’t. After all, the basic postulates of quantum mechanics, including unitarity, the probabilistic interpretation of the amplitudes, and the linearity of the operators representing observables, seem to be universally necessary to describe physics of any system that agrees with the basic insights of the quantum revolution.

On the other hand, geometry has been downgraded into an effective, approximate, emergent aspect of reality. The metric tensor is just one among many fields in our effective field theories including gravity. In string theory, there are, in some sense, infinitely many such fields besides the metric tensor – the whole “stringy tower”. The metric tensor doesn’t have to exist as a good degree of freedom at the Planck scale or in other extreme conditions. We know many other fields that are only good enough at low energies – e.g. the pion field.

— Black hole information puzzle

— Lubos Motl

.

.

2020.02.09 Sunday ACHK

Spacetime interval

Two contrasting viewpoints on time divide prominent philosophers.

One view is that time is part of the fundamental structure of the universe – a dimension independent of events, in which events occur in sequence. Isaac Newton subscribed to this realist view, and hence it is sometimes referred to as Newtonian time.

The opposing view is that time does not refer to any kind of “container” that events and objects “move through”, nor to any entity that “flows”, but that it is instead part of a fundamental intellectual structure (together with space and number) within which humans sequence and compare events.

This second view, in the tradition of Gottfried Leibniz and Immanuel Kant, holds that time is neither an event nor a thing, and thus is not itself measurable nor can it be travelled.

— Wikipedia on Time

.

Special relativity declares a similar law for all motion: the combined speed of any object’s motion through space and its motion through time is always precisely equal to the speed of light.

— The Fabric of the Cosmos: Space, Time, and the Texture of Reality

— Brian Greene

.

Space is relative, in the sense that the space interval, \Delta d, (aka distance) between two events can have different values for different observers.

\displaystyle{ \begin{aligned}   \Delta {d} &= \sqrt{{\left(\Delta {x}\right)}^{2}+{\left(\Delta {y}\right)}^{2}+{\left(\Delta {z}\right)}^{2}} \\    \end{aligned} }

Time is relative, in the sense that the time interval, \Delta t, (aka duration) between two events can have different values for different observers.

Spacetime is absolute, in the sense that the spacetime interval, (\Delta s)^2, between two events cannot have different values for different observers.

\displaystyle{  \begin{aligned}  (\Delta s)^{2}  &= (\Delta ct)^{2}-(\Delta x)^{2}-(\Delta y)^{2}-(\Delta z)^{2} \\  &= (\Delta ct)^{2}-(\Delta d)^{2} \\  \end{aligned} }

— paraphrasing The Fabric of the Cosmos

— Me@2020-01-26 12:46:41 AM

.

.

2020.02.03 Monday (c) All rights reserved by ACHK

Compare results

Within a universe, any two observers can, at least in principle, compare results.

When they compare, they will have consistent results for any observables/measurables.

— Me@2018-02-06 08:48:24 PM

.

being entangled ~ being consistent, with respect to any two observers, when they compare the results

— Me@2018-02-05 10:11:45 PM

.

.

2020.01.04 Saturday (c) All rights reserved by ACHK

Classical physics

Quantum Mechanics 6

.

As Gene and Sidney Coleman have pointed out, the term “interpretation of quantum mechanics” is a misnomer encouraging its users to generate logical fallacies. Why? It’s because we should always use a theory, or a more accurate, complete, and universal theory, to interpret its special cases, to interpret its approximations, to interpret the limits, and to interpret the phenomena it explains.

However, there’s no language “deeper than quantum mechanics” that could be used to interpret quantum mechanics. Unfortunately, what the “interpretation of quantum mechanics” ends up with is an attempt to find a hypothetical “deeper classical description” underneath the basic wheels and gears of quantum mechanics. But there’s demonstrably none. Instead, what makes sense is an “interpretation of classical physics” in terms of quantum mechanics. And that’s exactly what I am going to focus in this text.

Plan of this blog entry

After a very short summary of the rules of quantum mechanics, I present the widely taught “mathematical limit” based on the smallness of Planck’s constant. However, that doesn’t really fully explain why the world seems classical to us. I will discuss two somewhat different situations which however cover almost every example of a classical logic emerging from the quantum starting point:

  1. Classical coherent fields (e.g. light waves) appearing as a state of many particles (photons)

  2. Decoherence which makes us interpret absorbed particles as point-like objects and which makes generic superpositions of macroscopic objects unfit for well-defined questions about classical facts

— How classical fields, particles emerge from quantum theory

— Lubos Motl

.

There is no interpretation problem for quantum mechanics. Instead, if there is a problem, it should be the interpretation of classical mechanics problem.

— Lubos Motl

— paraphrased

— Me@2011.07.28

.

.

2019.12.14 Saturday (c) All rights reserved by ACHK

Pointer state, 2

Eigenstates 3.2

.

Microscopically, a state can be definite or indefinite. Even if it is indefinite, the overlapping of superpositions of states of a lot of particles, or the superposition of a lot of system-microstates gives a definite macrostate.

If a state is definite, it is corresponding to one single system-macrostate directly.

I am referring to the physical definition, not the mathematical definition.

— Me@2012-12-31 09:28:08 AM

.

If a microstate is definite, it is called an “eigenstate”. It is corresponding to one single system-macrostate directly.

However, the microstate is NOT the macrostate. The microstate is just corresponding to that macrostate.

— Me@2019-09-20 07:02:10 AM

.

In quantum Darwinism and similar theories, pointer states are quantum states, sometimes of a measuring apparatus, if present, that are less perturbed by decoherence than other states, and are the quantum equivalents of the classical states of the system after decoherence has occurred through interaction with the environment. ‘Pointer’ refers to the reading of a recording or measuring device, which in old analog versions would often have a gauge or pointer display.

— Wikipedia on Pointer state

.

In quantum mechanics, einselections, short for environment-induced superselection, is a name coined by Wojciech H. Zurek for a process which is claimed to explain the appearance of wavefunction collapse and the emergence of classical descriptions of reality from quantum descriptions.

In this approach, classicality is described as an emergent property induced in open quantum systems by their environments. Due to the interaction with the environment, the vast majority of states in the Hilbert space of a quantum open system become highly unstable due to entangling interaction with the environment, which in effect monitors selected observables of the system.

After a decoherence time, which for macroscopic objects is typically many orders of magnitude shorter than any other dynamical timescale, a generic quantum state decays into an uncertain [in the sense of classical probability] state which can be decomposed into a mixture of simple pointer states. In this way the environment induces effective superselection rules. Thus, einselection precludes stable existence of pure superpositions of pointer states. These ‘pointer states’ are stable despite environmental interaction. The einselected states lack coherence, and therefore do not exhibit the quantum behaviours of entanglement and superposition.

Advocates of this approach argue that since only quasi-local, essentially classical states survive the decoherence process, einselection can in many ways explain the emergence of a (seemingly) classical reality in a fundamentally quantum universe (at least to local observers). However, the basic program has been criticized as relying on a circular argument (e.g. R. E. Kastner). So the question of whether the ‘einselection’ account can really explain the phenomenon of wave function collapse remains unsettled.

— Wikipedia on Einselection

.

Here I simply review the basic approach to ‘deriving’ einselection via decoherence, and point to a key step in the derivation that makes it a circular one.

— Ruth E. Kastner

.

We should not derive einselection via decoherence. Instead, they should be regarded as different parts or different presentations of the same theory.

In other words, “einselection” and “decoherence” are synonyms.

— Me@2019-09-21 05:53:53 PM

.

There has been significant work on correctly identifying the pointer states in the case of a massive particle decohered by collisions with a fluid environment, often known as collisional decoherence. In particular, Busse and Hornberger have identified certain solitonic wavepackets as being unusually stable in the presence of such decoherence.

— Wikipedia on Einselection

.

.

2019.09.22 Sunday (c) All rights reserved by ACHK

事件實在論,更正

Event Realism | 事件實在論 6.1

.

exist = can be found

無後果,就不再存在。

— Me@2013.09.25

.

If the consequences of an event cannot be found anymore, that event no longer exists.

— Me@2019.09.05

.

The surprising implications of the original delayed-choice experiment led Wheeler to the conclusion that “no phenomenon is a phenomenon until it is an observed phenomenon”, which is a very radical position. Wheeler famously said that the “past has no existence except as recorded in the present“, and that the Universe does not “exist, out there independent of all acts of observation”.

— Wikipedia on Wheeler’s delayed choice experiment

.

「事件」並不完全「實在」。

實在 ~ 堅實地存在

仍然有後果的事件,才為之「仍然存在」。

永久地有後果的事件,才為之「實在」。

— Me@2019-09-05 09:08:41 PM

.

.

2019.09.05 Thursday (c) All rights reserved by ACHK

Quantum observer 2

Consistent histories, 6.2 | Relational quantum mechanics, 2 | Eigenstates 2.3.2.2

.

Would an observer see itself being in a superposition?

In a sense, tautologically, an observer is not a superposition of itself, because “an observer” can be defined as “a consistent history”.

an observer ~ a consistent history

.

Because “state” is expressed in RQM as the correlation between two systems, there can be no meaning to “self-measurement”.

— Wikipedia on Relational quantum mechanics

.

Would an observer see itself being in a superposition?

When we say that “before observation, observable B is in a superposition of some eigenstates”, you have to specify

  1. it is a superposition of what?

  2. it is a superposition with respect to what apparatuses or experimental setups?

— Me@2018-02-05 12:45 AM

.

.

2019.09.03 Tuesday (c) All rights reserved by ACHK

Multiverse

A physics statement is meaningful only if it is with respect to an observer. So the many-world theory is meaningless.

— Me@2018-08-31 12:55:54 PM

— Me@2019-05-11 09:41:55 PM

.

Answer me the following yes/no question:

In your multi-universe theory, is it possible, at least in principle, for an observer in one universe to interact with any of the other universes?

If no, then it is equivalent to say that those other universes do not exist.

If yes, then those other universes are not “other” universes at all, but actually just other parts of the same universe.

— Me@2019-05-11 09:43:40 PM

.

.

2019.05.11 Saturday (c) All rights reserved by ACHK

Classical probability, 7

Classical probability is macroscopic superposition.

— Me@2012.04.23

.

That is not correct, except in some special senses.

— Me@2019-05-02

.

That is not correct, if the “superposition” means quantum superposition.

— Me@2019-05-03 08:44:11 PM

.

The difference of the classical probability and quantum probability is the difference of a mixed state and a pure superposition state.

In classical probability, the relationship between mutually exclusive possible measurement results, before measurement, is OR.

In quantum probability, if the quantum system is in quantum superposition, the relationship between mutually exclusive possible measurement results, before measurement, is neither OR nor AND.

— Me@2019-05-03 06:04:27 PM

.

.

2019.05.03 Friday (c) All rights reserved by ACHK

Quantum classical logic

Mixed states, 2 | Eigenstates 4

.

— This is my guess. —

If the position is indefinite, you can express it in terms of a pure quantum state[1] (of a superposition of position eigenstates);

if the quantum state is indefinite, you can express it in terms of a mixed state;

if the mixed state is indefinite, you can express it in terms of a “mixed mixed state”[2]; etc. until definite.

At that level, you can start to use classical logic.

.

If you cannot get certainty, you can get certain uncertainty.

.

[1]: Me@2019-03-21 11:08:59 PM: This line of not correct. The uncertainty may not be quantum uncertainty. It may be classical.

[2]: Me@2019-03-22 02:56:21 PM: This concept may be useless, because a so-called “mixed mixed state” is just another mixed state.

For example, the mixture of mixed states

\displaystyle{p |\psi_1 \rangle \langle \psi_1 | + (1-p) |\psi_2 \rangle \langle \psi_2 |}

and

\displaystyle{q |\phi_1 \rangle \langle \phi_1 | + (1-q) |\phi_2 \rangle \langle \phi_2 |}

is

.

\displaystyle{\begin{aligned}  &w \bigg[ p |\psi_1 \rangle \langle \psi_1 |+ (1-p) |\psi_2 \rangle \langle \psi_2 | \bigg] +  (1-w) \bigg[ q |\phi_1 \rangle \langle \phi_1 | + (1-q) |\phi_2 \rangle \langle \phi_1 | \bigg] \\  &= w p |\psi_1 \rangle \langle \psi_1 | + w (1-p) |\psi_2 \rangle \langle \psi_2 | +  (1-w) q |\phi_1 \rangle \langle \phi_1 | + (1-w) (1-q) |\phi_2 \rangle \langle \phi_1 | \\  \end{aligned}}

— This is my guess. —

— Me@2012.04.15

.

.

2019.03.22 Friday (c) All rights reserved by ACHK

The Door 1.1

The following contains spoilers on a fictional work.

In Westworld season 2, last episode, when a person/host X passed through “the door”, he got copied, almost perfectly, into a virtual world. Since the door was adjacent to a cliff, just after passing through it, the original copy (the physical body) fell off the cliff and then died.

Did X still exist after passing through the door?

Existence or non-existence of X is not a property of X itself. So in order for the question “does X exist” to be meaningful, we have to specify “with respect to whom”.

In other words, instead of “does X exist”, we should ask

With respect to the observer Y, does X exist?

.

There are 3 categories of possible observers (who were observing X passing through the door):

  1. the original person (X1)
    .
    X_1 == X

  2. the copied person (X2) in the virtual world
    .
    For simplicity, assume that X2 is a perfect copy of X.

  3. other people (Y)

— Me@2019-02-09 1:09 PM

.

.

2019.02.28 Thursday (c) All rights reserved by ACHK

Quantum decoherence 9

d_2019_02_22__14_57_20_PM_

This is a file from the Wikimedia Commons.

In classical scattering of target body by environmental photons, the motion of the target body will not be changed by the scattered photons on the average. In quantum scattering, the interaction between the scattered photons and the superposed target body will cause them to be entangled, thereby delocalizing the phase coherence from the target body to the whole system, rendering the interference pattern unobservable.

The decohered elements of the system no longer exhibit quantum interference between each other, as in a double-slit experiment. Any elements that decohere from each other via environmental interactions are said to be quantum-entangled with the environment. The converse is not true: not all entangled states are decohered from each other.

— Wikipedia on Quantum decoherence

.

.

2019.02.22 Friday ACHK

Logical arrow of time, 7

When we imagine that we know and keep track of all the exact information about the physical system – which, in practice, we can only do for small microscopic physical systems – the microscopic laws are time-reversal-symmetric (or at least CPT-symmetric) and we don’t see any arrow. There is a one-to-one unitary map between the states at times “t1” and “t2” and it doesn’t matter which of them is the past and which of them is the future.

A problem is that with this microscopic description where everything is exact, no thermodynamic concepts such as the entropy “emerge” at all. You might say that the entropy is zero if the pure state is exactly known all the time – at any rate, a definition of the entropy that would make it identically zero would be completely useless, too. By “entropy”, I never mean a quantity that is allowed to be zero for macroscopic systems at room temperature.

But whenever we deal with incomplete information, this one-to-one map inevitably disappears and the simple rules break down. Macroscopic laws of physics are irreversible. If friction brings your car to a halt and you wait for days, you won’t be able to say when the car stopped. The information disappears: it dissipates.

— The arrow of time: understood for 100 years

— Lubos Motl

.

If there is a god-view, there is no time arrow.

Time arrow only exists from a macroscopic point of view. Microscopically, there is no time arrow.

If there is a god-view that can observe all the pieces of the exact information, including the microscopic ones, there is no time arrow.

Also, if there is a god-view, there will be paradoxes, such as the black hole information paradox.

Black hole complementarity is a conjectured solution to the black hole information paradox, proposed by Leonard Susskind, Larus Thorlacius, and Gerard ‘t Hooft.

Leonard Susskind proposed a radical resolution to this problem by claiming that the information is both reflected at the event horizon and passes through the event horizon and cannot escape, with the catch being no observer can confirm both stories simultaneously.

— Wikipedia on Black hole complementarity

The spirit of black hole complementarity is that there is no god-view. Instead, physics is always about what an observer can observe.

— Me@2018-06-21 01:09:05 PM

.

.

2019.02.11 Monday (c) All rights reserved by ACHK

Quantum logic, 3

The more common view regarding quantum logic, however, is that it provides a formalism for relating observables, system preparation filters and states.^\text{[citation needed]} In this view, the quantum logic approach resembles more closely the C*-algebraic approach to quantum mechanics. The similarities of the quantum logic formalism to a system of deductive logic may then be regarded more as a curiosity than as a fact of fundamental philosophical importance. A more modern approach to the structure of quantum logic is to assume that it is a diagram – in the sense of category theory – of classical logics (see David Edwards).

— Wikipedia on Quantum logic

.

.

2019.01.26 Saturday ACHK