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Title: Objective past of a quantum universe: Redundant records of consistent histories

Motivated by the advances of quantum Darwinism and recognizing the role played by redundancy in identifying the small subset of quantum states with resilience characteristic of objective classical reality, we explore the implications of redundant records for consistent histories. The consistent histories formalism is a tool for describing sequences of events taking place in an evolving closed quantum system. A set of histories is consistent when one can reason about them using Boolean logic, i.e., when probabilities of sequences of events that define histories are additive. However, the vast majority of the sets of histories that are merely consistent are flagrantly nonclassical in other respects. This embarras de richesses (known as the set selection problem) suggests that one must go beyond consistency to identify how the classical past arises in our quantum universe. The key intuition we follow is that the records of events that define the familiar objective past are inscribed in many distinct systems, e.g., subsystems of the environment, and are accessible locally in space and time to observers. We identify histories that are not just consistent but redundantly consistent using the partial-trace condition introduced by Finkelstein as a bridge between histories and decoherence. The existence of redundantmore » records is a sufficient condition for redundant consistency. It selects, from the multitude of the alternative sets of consistent histories, a small subset endowed with redundant records characteristic of the objective classical past. Furthermore, the information about an objective history of the past is then simultaneously within reach of many, who can independently reconstruct it and arrive at compatible conclusions in the present.« less
Authors:
 [1] ;  [2] ;  [3]
  1. Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, Waterloo, ON (Canada); IBM Watson Research Center, Yorktown Heights, NY (United States); Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
  2. Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
  3. Oregon State Univ., Corvallis, OR (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
1296658
Report Number(s):
LA-UR--13-29441
Journal ID: ISSN 2469-9926
Grant/Contract Number:
AC52-06NA25396
Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Physical Review A
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 93; Journal Issue: 3; Journal ID: ISSN 2469-9926
Publisher:
American Physical Society (APS)
Research Org:
Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
LDRD; USDOE
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
71 CLASSICAL AND QUANTUM MECHANICS, GENERAL PHYSICS atomic and nuclear physics