Quantum Foundations in the Light of Quantum Information III

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DECEMBER 6 – 9, 2011
Gilles Brassard (Montréal), Christopher Fuchs (Perimeter Institute)

Consider the two great physical theories of the twentieth century: relativity and quantum mechanics. Einstein derived relativity from very simple principles such as: "The speed of light in empty space is independent of the speed of its source" and "Physics should appear the same in all inertial reference frames". By contrast, the standard foundation of quantum mechanics is built on a set of rather strange, disjointed and ad hoc axioms. Why is this? Must quantum mechanics be inherently less elegant than relativity? Or is it rather that the current axioms of quantum mechanics reflect at best the history that led to its discovery by too many people over too long a period of time? Is it not time to take a pause, reflect on what has been achieved in the past one hundred years, and distill the truly fundamental within it?

The purpose of this workshop is to search for a better foundation for quantum mechanics, preferably one that lies within the teachings of quantum information science. Indeed, we postulate that the truly fundamental laws of Nature concern information, not waves or particles. We propose to explain quantum-mechanical phenomena as inevitable consequences of information-theoretic considerations and to derive as much of quantum mechanics as possible from this perspective.