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Previous Programs

2016 Physics of the Observer
2016 Awardees

2015 The Physics of What Happens
2015 Awardees

2013 Physics of Information
2013 Awardees

2010 The Nature of Time
2010 Awardees

2008 Foundational Questions in Physics and Cosmology
2008 Awardees

2006 Foundational Questions in Physics and Cosmology
2006 Awardees

Gerardo Adesso
The University of Nottingham

Co-Investigators

Davide Girolami, University of Nottingham

Project Title

Quantum Informational Framework for Cybernetics

Project Summary

The British weather is very variable. You need a wardrobe with a comparable variety of clothing not to get wet, hot or cold. Countless phenomena in social, biological, physical, economical sciences face analogous dilemmas to reach their expected outcomes under adverse conditions; e.g. our immune system must develop specific antibodies to contrast each toxin. Cybernetics studies these phenomena resting on general principles like the law of requisite variety: a regulator (clothing) needs enough variety to restrain the variety induced by a disturbance (weather), so the process fulfils its goal (stay well-dressed) with high chance. Variety is a concept with deep informational roots, as it can be measured by entropy. Imagine now you have a quantum dress in a superposition of T-shirt, sweater, and burberry: clever! It turns out living organisms exploit these tricks. Sea bacteria use quantum coherence to optimize their energy transport for photosynthesis, and birds improve their navigational skills with quantum entanglement. Here, working across discipline boundaries, I will develop a universal framework to quantify variety and its balance in natural and abstract models based on quantum laws of information, showcasing how quantum strategies can, and typically should, be developed by regulatory processes to reach a better fitness.



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