Quantum foundations concerns the conceptual and mathematical underpinnings of quantum theory. In particular, we search for novel quantum effects, consider how to interpret the formalism, ask where the formalism comes from, and how we might modify it. Research at Perimeter Institute is particularly concerned with reconstructing quantum theory from more natural postulates and reformulating the theory in ways that elucidate its conceptual structure. Research in the foundations of quantum theory naturally interfaces with research in quantum information and quantum gravity.

No-free-information principle in general probabilistic theories

Martin Plavala Slovak Academy of Sciences - Mathematical Institute

In quantum theory, the no-information-without-disturbance and no-free-information principles express that those observables that do not disturb the measurement of another observable and those that can be measured jointly with any other observable must be trivial, i.e., coin tossing observables. We show that in the framework of general probabilistic theories these principles do not hold in general. In this way, we obtain characterizations of the probabilistic theories where these principles hold and we show that the two principles are not equivalent.  

Interaction and Evolution in Classical and Quantum Physics, and Indefinite Causal Structure

Erik Curiel Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitiät München (LMU)
In classical mechanics, the representations of dynamical evolutions of a system and those of interactions the system can have with its environment are different vector fields on the space of states: evolutions and interactions are conceptually, physically and mathematically different in classical physics, and those differences arise from the generic structure of the very dynamics of classical systems ("Newton's Second Law"). Correlatively, there is a clean separation of the system's degrees of freedom from those of its environment, in a sense one can make precise.

Hierarchy of Theories with Indefinite Causal Structures: A Second Look at the Causaloid Framework

Nitica Sakharwade Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics
"The Causaloid framework [1] is useful to study Theories with Indefinite Causality; since Quantum Gravity is expected to marry the radical aspects of General Relativity (dynamic causality) and Quantum Theory (probabilistic-ness). To operationally study physical theories one finds the minimum set of quantities required to perform any calculation through physical compression.

Time Symmetry in Decoherence and Stable Facts

Anirban Ganguly Aix-Marseille University
It has been previously discussed how events (interactions) in quantum mechanics are time-symmetric and an arrow of time is only due to the arrow of inference in the paper “Quantum information and the arrow of time”, arXiv:2010.05734 by Andrea Di Biagio, Pietro Dona, and Carlo Rovelli. In the relational interpretation of Quantum Mechanics, these interactions are relative facts. Stable facts result from relative facts through the process of decoherence as shown in the paper "Di Biagio, A., Rovelli, C., Foundations of Physics 51, 30 (2021)".

Arrows of time and locally mediated toy-models of entanglement

"Making progress in quantum gravity requires resolving possible tensions between quantum mechanics and relativity.  One such tension is revealed by Bell's Theorem, but this relies on relativistic Local Causality, not merely the time-reversal symmetric aspects of relativity.  Specifically, it depends on an arrow-of-time condition, taken for granted by Bell, which we call No Future-Input Dependence.  One may replace this condition by the weaker Signal Causality arrow-of-time requirement -- only the latter is necessary, both for empirical viability and in order to avoid paradoxical causal loops. 

Representing time and time's arrow

Bryan Roberts London School of Economics and Political Science
What does it mean to say that a curve in state space describes change with respect to time, as opposed to space or any other parameter? What does it mean to say it's time is asymmetric? Inspired by the Wigner-Bargmann analysis of the Poincaré group, I discuss a general framework for understanding the meaning of time evolution and temporal symmetry in terms of the representation of a semigroup that includes "time translations", amongst the automorphisms of a state space.

An experiment to detect the Discreteness of time

Marios Christodoulou The University of Hong Kong (HKU)
To this date no empirical evidence contradicts general relativity. In particular, there is no experimental proof a quantum theory of gravity is needed. Surprisingly, it appears likely that the first such evidence would come from experiments that involve non relativistic matter and extremely weak gravitational fields. The conceptual key for this is the Planck mass, a mesoscopic mass scale, and how it relates with what remains of general relativity in the Newtonian limit: time dilation.

What does the Path Integral imply for Quantizing Time?

"Even though path-integral formulations of quantum theory are thought to be equivalent to state-based approaches, path-integrals are rarely used to motivate answers to foundational questions. This talk will summarize a number of implications concerning time and time-symmetry which result from the path-integral viewpoint. Such a perspective sheds serious doubt on dynamical collapse theories, and also pushes against efforts to extend configuration space to include multiple time dimensions.

Times of arrival and gauge invariance

Siddhant Das Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitiät München (LMU)
"We revisit the arguments underlying two well-known arrival-time distributions in quantum mechanics, viz., the Aharonov-Bohm and Kijowski (ABK) distribution, applicable for freely moving particles, and the quantum flux (QF) distribution. An inconsistency in the original axiomatic derivation of Kijowski’s result is pointed out, along with an inescapable consequence of the “negative arrival times” inherent to this proposal (and generalizations thereof).