Physicists propose a second level of quantization for quantum Shannon theory

Information theory, which was developed by Claude Shannon starting in the late 1940s, deals with questions such as how quickly information can be sent over a noisy communications channel. Both the information carriers (e.g., photons) and the channel (e.g., optical fiber cable) are assumed to be classical systems, with well-defined, perfectly distinguishable states.

In the past two decades, physicists have been developing a quantum version of information theory in which the internal state of each information carrier has quantum properties, such as superposition—the ability to occupy two or more classical states at once. But the transmission lines are generally still assumed to be classical, so that the path taken by messages in space is always well-defined.

Now in a new paper, physicists Giulio Chiribella and Hlér Kristjánsson at the University of Oxford and the University of Hong Kong have proposed a second level of quantization, in which both the information carriers and the channels can be in quantum superposition. In this new paradigm of communication, the information carriers can travel through multiple channels simultaneously.

Adapted from: Physicists propose a second level of quantization for quantum Shannon theory by Lisa Zyga , Phys.org

Sum-of-Three-Cubes Problem Solved for ‘Stubborn’ Number 33

Adapted from Quanta Magazine: https://www.quantamagazine.org/

Mathematicians long wondered whether it’s possible to express the number 33 as the sum of three cubes — that is, whether the equation 33 = x³+ y³+ z³ has a solution. They knew that 29 could be written as 3³ + 1³ + 1³, for instance, whereas 32 is not expressible as the sum of three integers each raised to the third power. But the case of 33 went unsolved for 64 years.

Read the whole article here: Sum-of-Three-Cubes Problem Solved for ‘Stubborn’ Number 33

Heisenberg’s final theory

Antoine Tilloy's research log

Last month, I was at Foundations 2018 in Utrecht. It is one of the biggest conferences on the foundations of physics, bringing together physicists, philosophers, and historians of science. A talk I found particularly interesting was that of Alexander Blum, from the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, entitled Heisenberg’s 1958 Weltformel & the roots of post-empirical physics. Let me briefly summarize Blum’s fascinating story.

In 1958, Werner Heisenberg put forward a new theory of matter that, according to his peers (and to every physicist today) could not possibly be correct, failing to reproduce most known microscopic phenomena. Yet he firmly believed in it, worked on it restlessly (at least for a while), and presented it to the public as a major breakthrough. How was such an embarrassment possible given that Heisenberg was one of the brightest physicists of the time? One could try to find…

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Chapter 1
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Some light quantum mechanics (with minutephysics)


The math of superposition and quantum states.


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Huge thanks to my friend Evan Miyazono, both for encouraging me to do this project, and for helping me understand many things along the way.
This is a simple primer for how the math of quantum mechanics, specifically in the context of polarized light, relates to the math of classical waves, specifically classical electromagnetic waves.
I will say, if you *do* want to go off and learn the math of quantum mechanics, you just can never have too much linear algebra, so check out the series I did at http://3b1b.co/essence-of-linear-algebra

Mistakes: As several astute commenters have pointed out, the force arrow is pointing the wrong way at 2:18. Thanks for the catch!

*Note on conventions: Throughout this video, I use a single-headed right arrow to represent the horizontal direction. The standard in quantum mechanics is actually to use double-headed arrows for describing polarization states, while single-headed arrows are typically reserved for the context of spin.
What’s the difference? Well, using a double-headed arrow to represent the horizontal direction emphasizes that in a quantum mechanical context, there’s no distinction between left and right. They each have the same measurable state: horizontal (e.g. they pass through horizontally oriented filters). Once you’re in QM, these kets are typically vectors in a more abstract space where vectors are not necessarily spatial directions but instead represent any kind of state.

Because of how I chose to motivate things with classical waves, where it makes sense for this arrow to represent a unit vector in the right direction, rather than the more abstract idea of a horizontal state vector, I chose to stick with the single-headed notation throughout, though this runs slightly against convention.

Music by Vincent Rubinetti:

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