Quantum Foundations of a Classical Universe Conference - overview

Quantum Foundations of a Classical Universe


August 11-14, 2014

IBM Watson Research Center

Yorktown Heights, NY




Participant Interests


Motivating questions

When can a quantum state, pure or mixed, be said to be classical? Can this definition be made statically, or are dynamical considerations needed?

What properties of dynamics produce and preserve classicality for long times, and how is this related to the production of records? What determines where the records are located, what they record, and how long they last? How much recorded information can a quantum system retain about its past before becoming too full to remember any more, and what happens thereafter?

How is classicality connected with self-organization and computational complexity, and in particular to the emergence of the kind of observers relevant to anthropic reasoning in cosmology? How should such observers be defined and counted?

Finally, connecting the last question to the first: when can fluctuations such as Boltzmann brains be said to occur in a quantum system, such a thermal state, whose density matrix is time-independent?


Scott Aaronson Charles Bennett Sean Carroll Peter Gacs James Hartle
Adrian Kent Stefan Leichenauer Ke Li Ken Olum Don Page
Jason Pollack Jess Riedel Tom Siegfried Graeme Smith John Smolin
Mark Srednicki Wojciech Zurek Michael Zwolak    

(Download versions: [without names], [with names], [original].)

Contact information

Charles Bennett: chdbennett@gmail.com
Jess Riedel: jessriedel@gmail.com
Lisa Kaiser (organizer): lkaiser@us.ibm.com
Deidre Thomas (expense reimbursements): thomasdl@us.ibm.com
IBM Watson Main operator: (914) 945-3000
IBM Watson Receptionist: (914) 945-1614
IBM Watson Security: (914) 945-2323


Financial and logistical support has been generously provided by IBM, and by the John Templeton Foundation through grant number 21484.