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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
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2006 Foundational Questions in Physics and Cosmology
Awardees; RFP download

Sumati Surya
Raman Research Institute

Project Title

In Search of Covariant Quantum Information

Project Summary

The discovery of quantum theory a century ago marked a vast shift in physics with deterministic Newtonian laws being replaced by quantum probabilistic rules. Quantum theory has gained a wide respectability because of its spectacular experimental success and its ability to predict new phenomena including quantum computation, which is based on the ideas of quantum information. However, quantum theory possesses a basic dichotomy: its interpretation requires a classical 'observer' who measures the quantum 'system'. Since the theory works well in experimental situations this dichotomy has not hindered progress in manipulating quantum systems, in particular in quantum computation. However, from a theoretical viewpoint the dichotomy is deeply unsettling since quantum theory should also be used to describe the measuring device. In particular a functionalist approach cannot suffice while understanding a theory of the universe where there is no external classical observer to make measurements. How are we then to quantify the quantum information of the universe? This project is an attempt to begin to answer these questions within a measurement independent framework of quantum theory known as quantum measure theory.

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