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Title: Environment as a witness: Selective proliferation of information and emergence of objectivity in a quantum universe

Abstract

We study the role of the information deposited in the environment of an open quantum system in the course of the decoherence process. Redundant spreading of information--the fact that some observables of the system can be independently read off from many distinct fragments of the environment--is investigated as the key to effective objectivity, the essential ingredient of classical reality. This focus on the environment as a communication channel through which observers learn about physical systems underscores the importance of quantum Darwinism--selective proliferation of information about 'the fittest states' chosen by the dynamics of decoherence at the expense of their superpositions--as redundancy imposes the existence of preferred observables. We demonstrate that the only observables that can leave multiple imprints in the environment are the familiar pointer observables singled out by environment-induced superselection (einselection) for their predictability. Many independent observers monitoring the environment will therefore agree on properties of the system as they can only learn about preferred observables. In this operational sense, the selective spreading of information leads to appearance of an objective classical reality from within the quantum substrate.

Authors:
 [1];  [1];  [2]
  1. Perimeter Institute, 31 Caroline Street N, Waterloo, Ontario, N2L 2Y5 (Canada)
  2. Theory Division, MS-B213, LANL, Los Alamos, New Mexico 87545 (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
20718693
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Journal Name:
Physical Review. A
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 72; Journal Issue: 4; Other Information: DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevA.72.042113; (c) 2005 The American Physical Society; Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA); Journal ID: ISSN 1050-2947
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
74 ATOMIC AND MOLECULAR PHYSICS; DATA TRANSMISSION; INFORMATION; QUANTUM DECOHERENCE; QUANTUM MECHANICS; REDUNDANCY; SUBSTRATES

Citation Formats

Ollivier, Harold, Projet Codes, INRIA, Boite Postale 105, F-78153 Le Chesnay, Poulin, David, Institute for Quantum Computing, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario, N2L 3G1, and Zurek, Wojciech H. Environment as a witness: Selective proliferation of information and emergence of objectivity in a quantum universe. United States: N. p., 2005. Web. doi:10.1103/PhysRevA.72.042113.
Ollivier, Harold, Projet Codes, INRIA, Boite Postale 105, F-78153 Le Chesnay, Poulin, David, Institute for Quantum Computing, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario, N2L 3G1, & Zurek, Wojciech H. Environment as a witness: Selective proliferation of information and emergence of objectivity in a quantum universe. United States. doi:10.1103/PhysRevA.72.042113.
Ollivier, Harold, Projet Codes, INRIA, Boite Postale 105, F-78153 Le Chesnay, Poulin, David, Institute for Quantum Computing, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario, N2L 3G1, and Zurek, Wojciech H. Sat . "Environment as a witness: Selective proliferation of information and emergence of objectivity in a quantum universe". United States. doi:10.1103/PhysRevA.72.042113.
@article{osti_20718693,
title = {Environment as a witness: Selective proliferation of information and emergence of objectivity in a quantum universe},
author = {Ollivier, Harold and Projet Codes, INRIA, Boite Postale 105, F-78153 Le Chesnay and Poulin, David and Institute for Quantum Computing, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario, N2L 3G1 and Zurek, Wojciech H},
abstractNote = {We study the role of the information deposited in the environment of an open quantum system in the course of the decoherence process. Redundant spreading of information--the fact that some observables of the system can be independently read off from many distinct fragments of the environment--is investigated as the key to effective objectivity, the essential ingredient of classical reality. This focus on the environment as a communication channel through which observers learn about physical systems underscores the importance of quantum Darwinism--selective proliferation of information about 'the fittest states' chosen by the dynamics of decoherence at the expense of their superpositions--as redundancy imposes the existence of preferred observables. We demonstrate that the only observables that can leave multiple imprints in the environment are the familiar pointer observables singled out by environment-induced superselection (einselection) for their predictability. Many independent observers monitoring the environment will therefore agree on properties of the system as they can only learn about preferred observables. In this operational sense, the selective spreading of information leads to appearance of an objective classical reality from within the quantum substrate.},
doi = {10.1103/PhysRevA.72.042113},
journal = {Physical Review. A},
issn = {1050-2947},
number = 4,
volume = 72,
place = {United States},
year = {2005},
month = {10}
}