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Title: Quantum reversibility is relative, or does a quantum measurement reset initial conditions?

Abstract

I compare the role of the information in classical and quantum dynamics by examining the relation between information flows in measurements and the ability of observers to reverse evolutions. I show that in the Newtonian dynamics reversibility is unaffected by the observer’s retention of the information about the measurement outcome. By contrast—even though quantum dynamics is unitary, hence, reversible—reversing quantum evolution that led to a measurement becomes, in principle, impossible for an observer who keeps the record of its outcome. Thus, quantum irreversibility can result from the information gain rather than just its loss—rather than just an increase of the (von Neumann) entropy. Recording of the outcome of the measurement resets, in effect, initial conditions within the observer’s (branch of) the Universe. Nevertheless, I also show that the observer’s friend—an agent who knows what measurement was successfully carried out and can confirm that the observer knows the outcome but resists his curiosity and does not find out the result—can, in principle, undo the measurement. This relativity of quantum reversibility sheds new light on the origin of the arrow of time and elucidates the role of information in classical and quantum physics. In conclusion, quantum discord appears as a natural measuremore » of the extent to which dissemination of information about the outcome affects the ability to reverse the measurement.« less

Authors:
 [1]
  1. Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Laboratory Directed Research and Development (LDRD) Program
OSTI Identifier:
1467216
Report Number(s):
LA-UR-18-22300
Journal ID: ISSN 1364-503X
Grant/Contract Number:  
AC52-06NA25396
Resource Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society. A, Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 376; Journal Issue: 2123; Journal ID: ISSN 1364-503X
Publisher:
The Royal Society Publishing
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
71 CLASSICAL AND QUANTUM MECHANICS, GENERAL PHYSICS; Mathematics

Citation Formats

Zurek, Wojciech H. Quantum reversibility is relative, or does a quantum measurement reset initial conditions?. United States: N. p., 2018. Web. doi:10.1098/rsta.2017.0315.
Zurek, Wojciech H. Quantum reversibility is relative, or does a quantum measurement reset initial conditions?. United States. doi:10.1098/rsta.2017.0315.
Zurek, Wojciech H. Mon . "Quantum reversibility is relative, or does a quantum measurement reset initial conditions?". United States. doi:10.1098/rsta.2017.0315. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1467216.
@article{osti_1467216,
title = {Quantum reversibility is relative, or does a quantum measurement reset initial conditions?},
author = {Zurek, Wojciech H.},
abstractNote = {I compare the role of the information in classical and quantum dynamics by examining the relation between information flows in measurements and the ability of observers to reverse evolutions. I show that in the Newtonian dynamics reversibility is unaffected by the observer’s retention of the information about the measurement outcome. By contrast—even though quantum dynamics is unitary, hence, reversible—reversing quantum evolution that led to a measurement becomes, in principle, impossible for an observer who keeps the record of its outcome. Thus, quantum irreversibility can result from the information gain rather than just its loss—rather than just an increase of the (von Neumann) entropy. Recording of the outcome of the measurement resets, in effect, initial conditions within the observer’s (branch of) the Universe. Nevertheless, I also show that the observer’s friend—an agent who knows what measurement was successfully carried out and can confirm that the observer knows the outcome but resists his curiosity and does not find out the result—can, in principle, undo the measurement. This relativity of quantum reversibility sheds new light on the origin of the arrow of time and elucidates the role of information in classical and quantum physics. In conclusion, quantum discord appears as a natural measure of the extent to which dissemination of information about the outcome affects the ability to reverse the measurement.},
doi = {10.1098/rsta.2017.0315},
journal = {Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society. A, Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences},
number = 2123,
volume = 376,
place = {United States},
year = {2018},
month = {5}
}

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Cited by: 4 works
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Figures / Tables:

Figure 1 Figure 1: An agent—an observer—within the evolving and expanding Universe carries out measurements that help define initial conditions of that Universe [10]. Thus, initial conditions (at Big Bang) are determined in part by measurements carried out at present. This dramatic image (due to John Wheeler) is illustrated by the studymore » of the ability to reverse an act of acquisition of information in this paper.« less

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    Works referencing / citing this record:

    The Quantum Postulate and the Recent Development of Atomic Theory1
    journal, April 1928


    Generic emergence of classical features in quantum Darwinism
    journal, August 2015

    • Brandão, Fernando G. S. L.; Piani, Marco; Horodecki, Paweł
    • Nature Communications, Vol. 6, Issue 1
    • DOI: 10.1038/ncomms8908

    Quantum Darwinism
    journal, March 2009


    Complementarity of quantum discord and classically accessible information
    journal, May 2013

    • Zwolak, Michael; Zurek, Wojciech H.
    • Scientific Reports, Vol. 3, Issue 1
    • DOI: 10.1038/srep01729

    Classical, quantum and total correlations
    journal, August 2001


    Quantum discord and its allies: a review of recent progress
    journal, December 2017

    • Bera, Anindita; Das, Tamoghna; Sadhukhan, Debasis
    • Reports on Progress in Physics, Vol. 81, Issue 2
    • DOI: 10.1088/1361-6633/aa872f

    Redundant information from thermal illumination: quantum Darwinism in scattered photons
    journal, July 2011


    Foundations of quantum mechanics and their impact on contemporary society
    journal, May 2018

    • Adesso, Gerardo; Franco, Rosario Lo; Parigi, Valentina
    • Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences, Vol. 376, Issue 2123
    • DOI: 10.1098/rsta.2018.0112

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        Figures/Tables have been extracted from DOE-funded journal article accepted manuscripts.