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Previous Programs

2019 Intelligence in the Physical World
Awardees

2019 Information as Fuel
Awardees

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

Jayne Thompson
National University of Singapore, Centre for Quantum Technologies

Mile Gu
National University of Singapore, Centre for Quantum Technologies



Project Title

National University of Singapore, Centre for Quantum Technologies

Project Summary

Information processing is one of the most essential parts of being alive, and one of the more costly. Our brains consume 40% of our body's energy budget, yet are clearly indispensable. One critical aspect of survival is the ability to anticipate future events. Yet there are intrinsic energetic and memory costs associated with making a prediction. Predicting the future involves carefully tracking relevant pieces of information about the past, which are key indicators of future circumstances. Surprisingly even the memory optimal predictive devices are forced to store past events that are irrelevant to their future predictions - this information is simply retained in memory and then discarded, resulting in overhead memory costs and extraneous energy expenditure. Yet these results all assumed the memory was classical. Can having access to a quantum memory challenge this status quo? Quantum devices are known to save memory over their optimal classical counterparts. To what extent can they also shave away the energetic cost of making a prediction? What are the signatures and implications of such a quantum enhancement in energetic efficiency? This grant will explore these possibilities, to understand to what extent intelligent agents can leverage quantum mechanics in lieu of a crystal ball.



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