Toys can't play: physical agents in Spekkens' theory


del Rio, L. (2022). Toys can't play: physical agents in Spekkens' theory. Perimeter Institute. https://pirsa.org/22100133


del Rio, Lidia. Toys can't play: physical agents in Spekkens' theory. Perimeter Institute, Oct. 14, 2022, https://pirsa.org/22100133


          @misc{ pirsa_PIRSA:22100133,
            doi = {10.48660/22100133},
            url = {https://pirsa.org/22100133},
            author = {del Rio, Lidia},
            keywords = {Quantum Foundations},
            language = {en},
            title = {Toys can{\textquoteright}t play: physical agents in Spekkens{\textquoteright} theory},
            publisher = {Perimeter Institute},
            year = {2022},
            month = {oct},
            note = {PIRSA:22100133 see, \url{https://pirsa.org}}

Lidia del Rio ETH Zurich


Information is physical, and for a physical theory to be universal, it
should model observers as physical systems, with concrete memories where
they store the information acquired through experiments and reasoning.
Here we address these issues in Spekkens' toy theory, a non-contextual
epistemically restricted model that partially mimics the behaviour of
quantum mechanics. We propose a way to model physical implementations of
agents, memories, measurements, conditional actions and information
processing. We find that the actions of toy agents are severely limited:
although there are non-orthogonal states in the theory, there is no way
for physical agents to consciously prepare them. Their memories are also
constrained: agents cannot forget in which of two arbitrary states a
system is. Finally, we formalize the process of making inferences about
other agents' experiments and model multi-agent experiments like
Wigner's friend. Unlike quantum theory or box world, in the toy theory
there are no inconsistencies when physical agents reason about each
other's knowledge.

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