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In support of ontic view of quantum states

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Lawrence Ioannou.

One of the foundational corner-stones of quantum theory is the question of the ontological reality of quantum states. This question is deeply related to the problem of quantum-classical transition. If one does not accept the ontological reality of quantum states, but does regard classical states as states of reality then she must give some account of this change in description associated with quantum-classical transition.

In the framework of quantum information theory it is common to demarcate the border-line between classical and quantum phenomena using characteristic features of quantum processes, e.g. non-locality, entanglement, no-cloning, non-commutativity, uncertainty relation. It is known that quantum features listed above are not equivalent, e.g. entanglement does not imply non-locality. Therefore, they cannot lead to unambiguous quantum-classical distinction. Lucien Hardy addressed the problem from the perspective of a relation between no-cloning and non-locality. To this end Hardy introduces a local toy model theory where cloning is not possible, thereby concluding that no-cloning is logically independent of non-locality. Although Hardy’s model is non-quantum it is not classical either and has many analogies with quantum theory. Rob Spekkens constructs his toy models to argue against the ontic view of quantum states. His argument builds upon the analogies between those models and quantum theory, and on the observation that corresponding states in the toy models do not have ontic interpretation.

I defend the ontic view of quantum states by scrutinizing the essential differences between quantum theory and the toy model theories.

This talk is part of the CQIF Seminar series.

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