Quantum theory from the perspective of general probabilistic theories

Change log
Al-Safi, Sabri Walid 

This thesis explores various perspectives on quantum phenomena, and how our understanding of these phenomena is informed by the study of general probabilistic theories. Particular attention is given to quantum nonlocality, and its interaction with areas of physical and mathematical interest such as entropy, reversible dynamics, information-based games and the idea of negative probability. We begin with a review of non-signaling distributions and convex operational theories, including “black box” descriptions of experiments and the mathematics of convex vector spaces. In Chapter 3 we derive various classical and quantum-like quasiprobabilistic representations of arbitrary non-signaling distributions. Previously, results in which the density operator is allowed to become non-positive [1] have proved useful in derivations of quantum theory from physical requirements [2]; we derive a dual result in which the measurement operators instead are allowed to become non-positive, and show that the generation of any non-signaling distribution is possible using a fixed separable state with negligible correlation. We also derive two distinct “quasi-local” models of non-signaling correlations. Chapter 4 investigates non-local games, in particular the game known as Information Causality. By analysing the probability of success in this game, we prove the conjectured tightness of a bound given in [3] concerning how well entanglement allows us to perform the task of random access coding, and introduce a quadratic bias bound which seems to capture a great deal of information about the set of quantum-achievable correlations. By reformulating Information Causality in terms of entropies, we find that a sensible measure of entropy precludes many general probabilistic theories whose non-locality is stronger than that of quantum theory. Chapter 5 explores the role that reversible transitivity (the principle that any two pure states are joined by a reversible transformation) plays as a characteristic feature of quantum theory. It has previously been shown that in Boxworld, the theory allowing for the full set of non-signaling correlations, any reversible transformation on a restricted class of composite systems is merely a composition of relabellings of measurement choices and outcomes, and permutations of subsystems [4]. We develop a tabular description of Boxworld states and effects first introduced in [5], and use this to extend this reversibility result to any composite Boxworld system in which none of the subsystems are classical.

Quantum theory, quantum foundations, non-locality, quantum non-locality, information causality, general probabilistic theories
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Awarding Institution
University of Cambridge
This work was funded by an EPSRC grant.