View Poll Results: Which Quantum Interpretation do you think is correct?
Copenhagen Interpretation 36 22.78%
GRW ( Spontaneous Collapse ) 2 1.27%
Consciousness induced Collapse 12 7.59%
Stochastic Mechanics 3 1.90%
Transactional Interpretation 4 2.53%
Many Worlds ( With splitting of worlds ) 13 8.23%
Everettian MWI (Decoherence) 18 11.39%
de-Broglie Bohm interpretation 18 11.39%
Some other deterministic hidden variables 16 10.13%
Ensemble interpretation 14 8.86%
Other (please specify below) 22 13.92%
Voters: 158. You may not vote on this poll

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Quantum Interpretation Poll (2011)

by Fyzix
Tags: 2011, interpretation, poll, quantum
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Rap
#199
May17-11, 08:39 AM
P: 789
Quote Quote by Fra View Post
There is an interesting analogy with QM if you ask me. What hte inside observer "sees" is different from what an external observer sees.

So both in QM and in GR do we have the issue of different observers and how to secure that the views of different observers are "consistent". The main difference is that in GR, we do not have the issue of non-commutative information sets. All there is is classical information. This is I think why the interpretations of GR are not as common.
I think there is a measurement problem, even in special relativity. Special relativity presents a bunch of particles, world lines, etc. which exist in a "frozen" spacetime, and puts constraints on the spacetime geometry of these world lines. Then comes the "observer" who is forced by his concept of "now" to create a coordinate system separating experience into space and time. To predict your or any other observer's experience, move yourself or the hypothetical observer along their world line at the speed of light. This whole measurement scenario brings in elements outside of special relativity, including the vague idea of "consciousness", similar to the situation in QM. How can there be "motion" when time has been subsumed into spacetime?

Also, what if we carry the "Wigner's friend" problem to SR? We conclude that the observer we are observing has no "choice", their development in time is determined. Do I, the outside observer, have choice then? This is "Laplace's demon" which exists in classical physics as well. Is there a counterfactual definiteness problem in SR, ignoring QM?
rodolfoalvare
#200
May17-11, 09:09 AM
P: 3
I think what I call "Statistical Quantum Continuum Universe interpretation" SQCUI is more in accordance with what we see, than the many worlds interpretation, what is your opinion?
I wrote it in form of a letter to explain the interpretation to a friend.
I will appreciate any comments. If you are interested the 2 first letters are posted in: http://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?p=3299340

QUANTUM LETTERS TO ANAHI #2 Thursday, May 12, 2011
Statistical Quantum Continuum Universe Interpretation. (SQCUI)

Hi Anahi in this letter I will try to explain a little about my Interpretation, of quantum reality.
WHO WE ARE? WHAT WE ARE? WHERE ARE WE?.....
Ever since we are little kids, we are broad up to believe that the Universe surrounds us, which is to say that we are immerse into the reality that we perceive.
One of the reasons that the concept of this Statistical Quantum Continuum Universe is so difficult to grasp is because of the misconceptions that this perceived reality give us.
To commence to explain this new approach to see the world in which we live on, we must define a few ideas that even though are common sense, they are the basis of who we are.
Every living organism of certain complexity, has two parts that are common to them; Some way of connecting to the environment (sensors); and some center were this data is use for the benefit of the organism (intelligence) This definition is very broad and you could argue that at certain levels of organization this characteristics bluer out (like in plants and bacteria).
If we think of ourselves is becomes pretty obvious that our connection to the Universe are our senses, (close your eyes, cover your ears and you’ll begin to realize that). Every single thing that you know of, it has arrived to your brain through one of these senses (there is other information that was hardwire to your brain genetically, but we will cover that latter), your brain takes this information, and makes sense (little by little) of your surroundings, in essence sees the Universe that surrounds you.
A cockroach will have the same parts (sensors and intelligence), but is very clear to us that if we see one on the floor next to us, their interpretation of the universe that surrounds it, (molecular markers, vibrations in the ground, pressure waves, etc.) will be very different than ours.
We tend to think that our interpretation of the universe is the correct one (the complete), and the cockroach is limited to their senses and intelligence. But we have to realize that our interpretation is limited by our senses (we cannot see at infrared wavelengths, etc.) and very probably by our intelligence.
Now with this bit of information let’s step back to what we know about Quantum Physics, and let’s see if we can make a little more sense of what we see around us.
Remember the tree in the forest, quantum physics says that the tree does not exist until you see it fallen or standing. In reality it says that the tree exists in the Multiverse (a fancy name for a Universe we don’t see but that it has all the possibilities in it, of all possible Universes) in a superposition of states (standing/fallen being only two of them), but when we get to the forest you only collapse one of them.
Well, to make sense of this “mambo Jambo” we will have to agree in a couple of things:

1. If what we see is one of the possible outcomes of the Multiverse (I like to call this the statistical Universe, the term Multiverse was used by Everett’s and could be misleading in my interpretation), then we are inside this “Multiverse” (Statistical Universe).

2. What we interpret as our reality is only a “slice” of this Multiverse.

3. If we take a very simplistic 2 dimensional plane to model this multiverse, imagine hills and valleys representing the statistical possibilities of an event, and “our reality” as a line that goes on one direction and angles to pass from one possibility or another, the likelihood of an event depending on the fiber of the Multiverse on this region (the laws of physics us we know them), that is to say the possibilities of an event are intrinsic to the laws of physics on this region of the multiverse (the local fiber of the Universe).

4. Our “linea de vivencia” (need a term in English) is really the collapse of the reality that we see, the “thickness” of this line is a representation of how intelligent we are (that is how much can we connect with the Statistical Quantum Continuum Universe).

Up to now you must think that this is like “you say Potato and I say Potairo” but when you start to analyze the Universe under this new interpretation, our whole conception of what this is (the Universe) changes.
Imagine for a moment that the universe is the way I listed above then:

• you are the center of the Universe you are collapsing (interpreting). Even though I see the same Universe, you are seen, is only because we are in the same statistical region of the multiverse, and we have basically the same sensors and intelligence.
• Like we mention before you have to be a superposition of Anahis, because at any given time any of you follows different statistical paths, If the structure of any Anahis in that statistical region ceases to be, (that Anahi dies) the ones that continue interpreting the universe are the only ones left, that is to say YOU WILL NEVER SEE YOUSELF DEAD!!! (Boggles the mind!, unfortunately this may became like a Quantum religion…)

Note: I know that this sound like total none sense but is absolutely in accordance with the physics that we see, ask any Quantum Physicist.

• Because the Universe we collapse depends of our intelligence and our sensors (or transducers for our sensors, that is to say, a thermal imaging camera permits us to see the infrared radiation translated to our eyes, therefore collapsing that reality).
This is why, when during and experiment we use a detector of spin for example to measure that characteristic of an electron, the electron in our reality (Universe) does NOT exist in any other characteristic but the Spin (in the statistical Universe that electron exists in every possible characteristic there is).
I think this interpretation successfully explains this estrange behavior that we see in quantum mechanics, that has not been satisfactory explained before.

Well Anahi I hope my explanation was good enough to transmit the message, I stop now so that I don’t give you a headache (I know I’m getting one).
In the letter that follow I will explain in detail the four point listed above, also why there is not Grandfather paradox traveling back in time (you never do), if you think you live forever when does it end? If we somehow we get better with time (the only way not to die) then entropy reverses from Chaos to Order? (Nooouu!!), if not; how is it possible?
Well baby thank you for been such a patient friend, and I hope I’m a much better Physicist than writer.
Sweet dreams!!
Fra
#201
May17-11, 09:29 AM
Fra's Avatar
P: 2,799
Quote Quote by Rap View Post
Also, what if we carry the "Wigner's friend" problem to SR? We conclude that the observer we are observing has no "choice", their development in time is determined. Do I, the outside observer, have choice then?
I'll get back to this later but shortly my take on the symmetries of SR and GR for that matter, which are to be seem as invariants of the equivalence classes of certain groups of observers (generated by poincared or diff transformations) is quite different if I force into the other reasoninig I had on QM.

In my view, poincare and lorentz symmetries are not forcing constraints. They are INFERRED symmetries. The challange for my view, is then to explain the coincidence that several observers seems to indeed infer the SAME symmetry (invariants). Of course it's not conicidence, in my view it's the result of a negotiation, and the status quo of the negotiation (loose analogy to nash equiblirium in game theory; where no player has anytthing to gain by adjsuting it's strategy), is these symmetries. If I am right, I expect (one day) to find a proof for this; from my starting points.

Until I have formal progress, lets just call it my "interpretation" and I have not said too much.

/Fredrik
Varon
#202
May17-11, 09:34 AM
P: 525
It seems we can only solve the measurement problem or what is the right quantum interpretation after we formulate quantum gravity (or quantum spacetime). Unfortunately.. what if quantum gravity can only be understood after one solve the measurement problem?
Then if we can't solve the measurement problem, then we won't be able to solve quantum gravity.
Fra
#203
May17-11, 12:23 PM
Fra's Avatar
P: 2,799
Quote Quote by Varon View Post
Then if we can't solve the measurement problem, then we won't be able to solve quantum gravity.
You can see this as a problem or a hint on howto solve it.

I think the resolution is that they are related, and that the resolution means we need to understand emergence of observers(matter) and their relations in a single process.

So instead of trying to add gravity to quantum theory, or to find new ways to apply a quantization proceure to Einsteins equations, I think we NEED to reanalyze the foundations of both with fresh thinking. At least it's my considered opinion.

/Fredrik
Ken G
#204
Oct19-11, 05:57 PM
PF Gold
P: 3,136
I voted for "other", because there was no "all of the above." Although I do prefer the ermpiricism of Copenhagen, I find value in using all of the interpretations to help me understand quantum mechanics the way a sculptor would look at their subject from all angles before trying to sculpt it.
yoda jedi
#205
Jun18-12, 05:29 PM
P: 380
a possible setback for bohr....

a proposed experimental tests

http://arxiv.org/pdf/1110.0069v2.pdf
Dead Boss
#206
Jun18-12, 05:50 PM
P: 150
I never heard of stochastic mechanic before so I looked it up and I instantly fell in love with it. But it looks like it isn't very popular.
al onestone
#207
Jun20-12, 07:16 AM
P: 61
You know, personally I'm of the persuasion that the information interpretation (modern copenhagen see Zeilinger 1999), but the options in this pole I find preposterous. "Conciousness Induced Collapse"? Really? 7.52% of the people poled must be nuts.
al onestone
#208
Jun20-12, 07:25 AM
P: 61
By the way, you're insistence upon there being some type of a measurement "problem" is outdated. Zeilinger dealt with this problem in three easy steps:

1:What is quantum mechanical IS an amount of information.
or
An elementary system of QM is a bit of information.

2: Information is conservered.

3: When the preparation of a system changes, the amount of info in one representation changes.

With these three rules in place, the conclusion is that any change in preparation must retain the total info of the system, so the system "collapses" or "takes upon the state of the appropriate amount of information".
Ken G
#209
Jun20-12, 10:19 AM
PF Gold
P: 3,136
Quote Quote by al onestone View Post
You know, personally I'm of the persuasion that the information interpretation (modern copenhagen see Zeilinger 1999), but the options in this pole I find preposterous. "Conciousness Induced Collapse"? Really? 7.52% of the people poled must be nuts.
Are you sure information interpretation is all that different from consciousness induced collapse? After all, where is that information in the first place?
With these three rules in place, the conclusion is that any change in preparation must retain the total info of the system, so the system "collapses" or "takes upon the state of the appropriate amount of information".
That sounds like little more than a restatement of the measurement problem, not a resolution of it. It restates the problem in the language of information, which is certainly an interesting way to see the measurement problem from a new angle. But asserting a conservation law is not explanatory, any more than asserting conservation of energy explains F=ma. We can see that F=ma will give rise to the work-energy theorem, so conservation of energy gives us a new angle on F=ma, but it does not explain F=ma, because you then have to answer "why is energy conserved", or in this case, "why information?" In short: you have saying the "measurement problem" reduces to "why is information conserved." A useful contribution to be sure-- but no kind of resolution, just a different way to frame the question. And each interpretation that attempts to resolve the measurement problem will also have a different, and equally contentious, way of saying why information is conserved.
Rap
#210
Jun20-12, 10:39 AM
P: 789
Quote Quote by al onestone View Post
You know, personally I'm of the persuasion that the information interpretation (modern copenhagen see Zeilinger 1999), but the options in this pole I find preposterous. "Conciousness Induced Collapse"? Really? 7.52% of the people poled must be nuts.
I sort of agree. The role of measurement is fundamental in QM and an information approach I think is just as fundamental. For example, the Heisenberg uncertainty principle is not, I think, as fundamental as the entropic (information-based) uncertainty principle. The entropic principle is "tighter" than the Heisenberg principle, and the Heisenberg principle can be derived from the entropic principle, but not vice-versa.

I think "Conciousness Induced Collapse" is not totally preposterous. Any entity (robotic or human) which is carrying out QM calculations will modify its description of a system as new information becomes availiable. This modification is the "collapse". The error that some people make is that they believe that the description (e.g. the wave function) is a totally objective entity, like the classical electromagnetic field, and it follows that the collapse must be objective as well. If you have only one observer, that's a distinction without a difference, but if you have, e.g., a second observer observing the first observer, then the two observers will have some disagreements (without being in error) and the less-than-objective nature of the wave function is made more clear.
al onestone
#211
Jun21-12, 08:53 AM
P: 61
To Ken G: Your reply "In short: you have saying the "measurement problem" reduces to "why is information conserved." A useful contribution to be sure-- but no kind of resolution, just a different way to frame the question. And each interpretation that attempts to resolve the measurement problem will also have a different, and equally contentious, way of saying why information is conserved." sounds like your saying that any interpretation of the measurement problem ( which is essentially an interpretation of quantum mechanics) must inturn have an underpinning itself. You're saying that any interpretation must have an underlying interpretation, ad infinitum. The point is that the interpretation is the physicist's opinion of what the underlying conceptual basis of quantum mechanics is. Most physicists would claim that there is no way of empirically testing the difference between one interpretation of quantum mechanics and another (unless one interpretation is seriously flawed). However, this notion might come to pass if there is one day an empirical evidence set which is capeable of distinguishing one interpretation. Let me tell you why I think it is the information interp. Because of the difference in the capeabilities of information and "matter". Information can be transferred superluminally, whereas matter cannot. Why is information potentially FASTER than matter. Is it because information is more fundamental? That is my position, but for now it is only an opinion, like all of quantum interpretation.
al onestone
#212
Jun21-12, 09:12 AM
P: 61
To Rap: Forget about Wigner and his useless friends. The only validity of the "orthodox interpretation" due to Wigner and Von Neumann is the point that any modification of the preparation , which is undertaken by the scientist, is done so by "irrational" means. It requires a choice by the scientist, and so we have the free will debate and a debate about what the human mind is. Otherwise, this idea about conciousness collapsing the wavefunction (reducing the state description) is plain wrong, and it is one of the interpretations which does have empirical counterexample. If two scientists observe the same experiment, there is no way of the preparation being different for the two perspectives. The system IS objective to both scientists and so the description is identical for both, the description which is appropriate to the preparation.
The counterexample I usually consider is the ZWM study(Mandel 1991) and others like it where the distinguishing information of the preparation determines the outcome of the experiment. The outcome is specifically an interference effect which requires indistinguishability. The experiment has two possible preparations, one where there is distinguishing information (no interference) and one without (interference). It is shown that the interference depends upon the non-presence of IN PRINCIPLE KNOWABILITY of the optical pathways, and it therefore does not in any way depend upon the KNOWABILITY or KNOWLEDGE OF. In other words, no one has to actually know the distinguishing information, it need only be in principle POSSIBLE for such knowledge (from measurements) to be gained in order to negate the interference. So actual knowledge of, conciousness of the observer, is circumvented in this experiment and the collapse still takes place.
Ken G
#213
Jun21-12, 10:04 AM
PF Gold
P: 3,136
Quote Quote by al onestone View Post
You're saying that any interpretation must have an underlying interpretation, ad infinitum.
I'm not saying that, I'm saying that the goal of an interpretation is different from the goal of a theory. Theories make predictions, and unify a bunch of different observations under a single conceptual framework, using a simple set of postulates that it does not attempt to justify as reasonable. The latter is the job of an interpretation. Saying that measurements come out as they do because information is conserved is an interpretation, so it is overstating the case to claim that it is solving the problem.

The way to solve the problem is not to find another interpretation to "underpin" one interpretation, for an interpretation that underpins another interpretation is still just another interpretation. Instead, what could underpin an interpretation of one theory is a new theory. The new theory must predict things the old theory does not, or else it is not a new theory, and experimental confirmation of the new predictions then "underpin" the old interpretation of the old theory-- we find the old interpretation to be superior because it connects with the new theory that is experimentally demonstrated to be a better theory. But without that, we cannot say a problem is "solved", we can only suggest a potentially important path for solving the problem.

The point is that the interpretation is the physicist's opinion of what the underlying conceptual basis of quantum mechanics is.
Yes, I agree, and I think conservation of information provides an interesting such opinion. But to claim that it is a solution, and not just an alternative, requires a new theory that makes different predictions, or else it is indeed just another competing interpretation with no particular empirical advantage.

Let me tell you why I think it is the information interp. Because of the difference in the capeabilities of information and "matter". Information can be transferred superluminally, whereas matter cannot. Why is information potentially FASTER than matter. Is it because information is more fundamental? That is my position, but for now it is only an opinion, like all of quantum interpretation.
Yes, I agree that each person holds a different view for many good reasons, and the important thing is to understand all the views because we never know where the next great insight will come from, which leads to that new theory with empirical support. I agree that information is more fundamental, because it makes a more explicit connection with the demonstrably true fact that physics happens in the head of a physicist, and that is also where information happens.
Ken G
#214
Jun21-12, 10:09 AM
PF Gold
P: 3,136
Quote Quote by al onestone View Post
In other words, no one has to actually know the distinguishing information, it need only be in principle POSSIBLE for such knowledge (from measurements) to be gained in order to negate the interference. So actual knowledge of, conciousness of the observer, is circumvented in this experiment and the collapse still takes place.
But someone does have to know how the experiment came out, and they have to know how the experiment was set up, so that is simply equivalent to conscious collapse. Physics is still done by the physicist, there's just no escaping that raw fact.
Whovian
#215
Jun21-12, 10:52 AM
P: 643
I know this is an old poll, but I feel like interjecting, stating that I like the many observers interpretation for one reason or another.
Hurkyl
#216
Jun21-12, 04:06 PM
Emeritus
Sci Advisor
PF Gold
Hurkyl's Avatar
P: 16,091
Quote Quote by Rap View Post
The role of measurement is fundamental in QM and an information approach I think is just as fundamental.
...
Any entity (robotic or human) which is carrying out QM calculations will modify its description of a system as new information becomes availiable. The error that some people make is that they believe that the description (e.g. the wave function) is a totally objective entity, like the classical electromagnetic field, and it follows that the collapse must be objective as well.
This is wrong. Or, more accurately, this description only works with a hidden variable theory, where we can interpret the wave-function as expressing ignorance of the hidden variables.


If one truly considers information fundamental, then one would focus on information and how it's used; one would focus on the fact that scientific predictions are done by gathering the results of 'measurement' and using them to predict the results of future measurements: i.e. it is about making statements like "X and Y, therefore Z" or "X and Y, therefore Z with probability p". Or more ambitiously, studying the dynamics of a theory to try and distill what sorts of things could be observed by an 'internal' observer that obeys said dynamics.

Even if our approach to considering statements is to have a prior physical model (e.g. wave-function) of a system, make observations (X and Y), and then make a prediction, collapse is not required to derive "X and Y, therefore Z with probability p". Even if we believe the wave-function to be an objective property of the system, this still does not imply collapse.

Really, the wave-function of a system is like expressing a classical system by the coordinates of its components. There is redundancy in such a classical description of a system because a change of coordinates would describe the same system. This does not force us to believe the classical description is just subjective information -- it just means we have to pay attention to which aspects of the description are physically meaningful and which are not.

The same is true with the wave-function (supposing that a decoherence-based interpretation of QM does work out); if we're considering the topic "What can we conclude from X and Y?", then collapse is simply analogous to the change of coordinates; a different presentation of the same quantum system from which we derive the same physical information. The collapse is not invoked as an update of information or even as an objective physical process but instead simply a mathematical simplification.



Collapse as update of information only comes if one cannot bear to think in terms of questions like "Do X and Y imply Z?" and instead insist merely on asking "Z?", and are thus forced to reformulate everything to implicitly include the hypotheses X and Y.

Similarly, objective collapse only comes into play of one cannot bear to think the meaningful physical questions are of the form "Do X and Y imply Z?" rather than "Z?", and are thus forced to suppose the objective state of the system evolves to implicitly include the hypotheses X and Y.

And both of these approaches suffer from the fact they explicitly reject the unitary time evolution asserted by the Schrödinger equation and similar (with superficially different justifications). Among other things, this rejects the possibility of quantum mechanics being able to describe physical experiments* and observers. I consider this to be a rather serious failing of such approaches, since you are paying a rather severe price for something that doesn't matter.

*: as opposed to being restricted to describing just the quantum system being observed in the experiment


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