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Title: Alternative theories in quantum foundations
Author: Ranchin, Andre
ISNI:       0000 0004 6422 7861
Awarding Body: Imperial College London
Current Institution: Imperial College London
Date of Award: 2017
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Abstraction is an important driving force in theoretical physics. New insights often accompany the creation of physical frameworks which are both comprehensive and parsimonious. In particular, the analysis of alternative sets of theories which exhibit similar structural features as quantum theory has yielded important new results and physical understanding. An important task is to undertake a thorough analysis and classification of quantum-like theories. In this thesis, we take a step in this direction, moving towards a synthetic description of alternative theories in quantum foundations. After a brief philosophical introduction, we give a presentation of the mathematical concepts underpinning the foundations of physics, followed by an introduction to the foundations of quantum mechanics. The core of the thesis consists of three results chapters based on the articles in the author’s publications page. Chapter 4 analyses the logic of stabilizer quantum mechanics and provides a complete set of circuit equations for this sub-theory of quantum mechanics. Chapter 5 describes how quantum-like theories can be classified in a periodic table of theories. A pictorial calculus for alternative physical theories, called the ZX calculus for qudits, is then introduced and used as a tool to depict particular examples of quantum-like theories, including qudit stabilizer quantum mechanics and the SpekkensSchreiber toy theory. Chapter 6 presents an alternative set of quantum-like theories, called quantum collapse models. A novel quantum collapse model, where the rate of collapse depends on the Quantum Integrated Information of a physical system, is introduced and discussed in some detail. We then conclude with a brief summary of the main results.
Supervisor: Coecke, Bob ; Rudolph, Terry Sponsor: Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral