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Previous Programs

2018 Agency in the Physical World
Awardees; RFP download

2016 Physics of the Observer
Awardees; RFP download

2015 The Physics of What Happens
Awardees; RFP download

2013 Physics of Information
Awardees; RFP download

2010 The Nature of Time
Awardees; RFP download

2008 Foundational Questions in Physics and Cosmology
Awardees; RFP download

2006 Foundational Questions in Physics and Cosmology
Awardees; RFP download

Caslav Brukner
Institute of Quantum Optics and Quantum Information

Project Title

Quantum information without time and without causal order

Project Summary

One of the most deeply rooted concepts in science and in our everyday life is causality: the idea that events in the present are caused by events in the past and, in turn, act as causes for what happens in the future. If an event A is a cause of an effect B, then B cannot be a cause of A. According to quantum mechanics, however, objects can lose their well-defined classical properties, such as a particle that is in a 'superposition' of two different locations at the same time. If we believe that quantum mechanics governs all phenomena, it is natural to expect that the order of events could also be indefinite, similarly to the location of a particle. The existence of such 'superpositions of causal orders' may have far-reaching implications for the foundations of quantum mechanics, quantum gravity and quantum computing. In our project we will address the following research questions. Can we derive no-go theorems that will provable exclude any 'hidden' causal explanation of superpositions of causal orders? Can these superpositions be harnessed to outperform the conventional, causal, quantum computers, similarly as the latter are shown to outperform their classical counterparts in solving hard computational problems?

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