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Previous Programs

2018 Agency in the Physical World
2018 Awardees

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

Wojciech Zurek
Theiss Research

Project Title

Quantum Darwinism and Agents

Project Summary

Our Universe is quantum, as experimental confirmations of quantum superpositions on increasingly large scales and studies entanglement demonstrate. Yet, the world we inhabit appears classical to us, devoid of superpositions or entanglement. Emergence of classicality from the quantum substrate is a long-standing mystery. Decoherence posits that objects acquire classicality because they are in effect monitored by environments that destroy superpositions of selected quasi-classical pointer states that are “immune” to the environment. Quantum Darwinism extends the role of the environment: It is motivated by the observation that we acquire our data about the Universe indirectly, by intercepting fractions of the environment that caused decoherence. Thus, only information reproduced, by decoherence, in many copies is objective so that it can accessed by many agents and re-confirmed. I will study the origin of irreversibility, as I believe that in quantum Darwinist setting it can be caused not just by the increase of entropy, but also by its decrease -- by information agents obtain. I shall also investigate, using models of information processing, how agents make predictions about their Universe. Last not least, I shall address the question of how and why we pick out “systems” that underlie discussion of decoherence and quantum Darwinism.

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