Tag Archives: meetings

Foundations Mailing Lists

Bob Coecke has recently set up an email mailing list for announcements in the foundations of quantum theory (conference announcements, job postings and the like). You can subscribe by sending a blank email to quantum-foundations-subscribe@maillist.ox.ac.uk. The mailing list is moderated so you will not get inundated by messages from cranks.

On a similar note, I thought I would mention the philosophy of physics mailing list, which has been going for about seven years and also often features announcements that are relevant to the foundations of quantum theory. Obviously, the focus is more on the philosophy side, but I have often heard about interesting conferences and workshops via this list.

Job/Course/Conference Announcements

Here are a few announcements that have arrived in my inbox in the past few days.

Perimeter Scholars International

Canada’s Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics (PI), in partnership with the University of Waterloo, welcomes applications to the Master’s level course, Perimeter Scholars International (PSI). Exceptional students with an undergraduate honours degree in Physics, Math, Engineering or Computer Science are encouraged to apply. Students must have a minimum of 3 upper level undergraduate or graduate courses in physics. PSI recruits a diverse group of students and especially encourages applications from qualified women candidates. The due date for applications to PSI is February 1st, 2011. Complete details are available at www.perimeterscholars.org.

Foundations Postdocs

Also a reminder that it is currently postdoc hiring season at Perimeter Institute. Although, the deadline for applications has passed, they will always consider applications from qualified candidates if not all positions have been filled. Anyone looking for a postdoc in quantum foundations should definitely apply. In fact, if you are looking for a foundations job and you have not applied to PI then you must be quite mad, since there are not a lot of foundations positions in physics to be had elsewhere. Details are here.

Quantum Interactions

I will admit that this next conference announcement is a little leftfield, but some of the areas it covers are very interesting and worthwhile in my opinion, particularly the biological and artificial intelligence applications.

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CALL FOR PAPERS

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The Fifth International Symposium on Quantum Interaction (QI’2010, http://www.rgu.ac.uk/qi2011), 27-29 June 2010, Aberdeen, United Kingdom.

Quantum Interaction (QI) is an emerging field which is applying quantum theory (QT) to domains such as artificial intelligence, human language, cognition, information retrieval, biology, political science, economics, organisations and social interaction.

After highly successful previous meetings (QI’2007 at Stanford, QI’2008 at Oxford, QI’2009 at Saarbruecken, QI’2010 at Washington DC), the Fifth International Quantum Interaction Symposium will take place in Aberdeen, UK from 27 to 29 June 2011.

This symposium will bring together researchers interested in how QT addresses problems in non-quantum domains. QI’2011 will also include a half day tutorial session on 26 June 2011, with a number of leading researchers delivering tutorial on the foundations of QT, the application of QT to human cognition and decision making, and QT inspired semantic information processing.

***Call for Papers***

We are seeking submission of high-quality and original research papers that have not been previously published and are not under review for another conference or journal. Papers should address one or more of the following broad content areas, but not limited to:

- Artificial Intelligence (Logic, planning, agents and multi-agent systems)

- Biological or Complex Systems

- Cognition and Brain (memory, cognitive processes, neural networks, consciousness)

- Decision Theory (political, psychological, cultural, organisational, social sciences)

- Finance and Economics (decision-making, mergers, corporate cultures)

- Information Processing and Retrieval

- Language and Linguistics

The post-conference proceedings of QI’2011 will be published by Springer in its Lecture Notes in Computer Science (LNCS) series. Authors will be required to submit a final version 14 days after the conference to reflect the comments made at the conference. We will also consider organizing a special issue for a suitable journal to publish selected best papers.

***Important Dates***

28th March 2011: Abstract submission deadline

1st April 2011: Paper submission deadline

1st May 2011: Notification of acceptance

1st June 2011: Camera-Ready Copy

26th June 2011: Tutorial Session

27th – 29th June 2011: Conference

***Submission***

Authors are invited to submit research papers up to 12 pages. All submissions should be prepared in English using the LNCS template, which can be downloaded from http://www.springer.com/computer/lncs?SGWID=0-164-6-793341-0.

Please submit online at:

http://www.easychair.org/conferences/?conf=qi2011

***Organization***

Steering Committee:

Peter Bruza (Queensland University of Technology, Australia)

William Lawless (Paine College, USA)

Keith van Rijsbergen (University of Glasgow, UK)

Donald Sofge (Naval Research Laboratory, USA)

Dominic Widdows (Google, USA)

General Chair:

Dawei Song (Robert Gordon University, UK)

Programme Committee Chair:

Massimo Melucci (University of Padua, Italy)

Publicity Chair:

Sachi Arafat (University of Glasgow, UK)

Proceedings Chair:

Ingo Frommholz (University of Glasgow, UK)

Local Organization co-Chairs:

Jun Wang and Peng Zhang (Robert Gordon University, UK)

Quantum Foundations Meetings

Prompted in part by the Quantum Pontiff’s post about the APS March meeting, I thought it would be a good idea to post one of my extremely irregular lists of interesting conferences about the foundations of quantum theory that are coming up. A lot of my usual sources for this sort of information have become defunct in the couple of years I was away from work, so if anyone knows of any other interesting meetings then please post them in the comments.

  • March 21st-25th 2011: APS March Meeting (Dallas, Texas) – Includes a special session on Quantum Information For Quantum Foundations. Abstract submission deadline Nov. 19th.
  • April 29th-May 1st 2011: New Directions in the Foundations of Physics (Washington DC) – Always one of the highlights of the foundations calendar, but invite only.
  • May 2nd-6th 2011: 5th Feynman Festival (Brazil) – Includes foundations of quantum theory as one of its topics, but likely there will be more quantum information/computation talks. Registration deadline Feb. 1st, Abstract submission deadline Feb. 15th.
  • July 25th-30th 2011: Frontiers of Quantum and Mesoscopic Thermodynamics (Prague, Czech Republic) – Not strictly a quantum foundations conference, but there are a few foundations speakers and foundations of thermodynamics is interesting to many quantum foundations people.

von Neumann celebrations

I think I might have mentioned before that von Neumann is a bit of a hero of mine.  I transferred my affections from Feynman as soon as I was old enough to realize how much exaggeration must be involved in the “Surely you’re joking” stories.  Sure, von Neumann may have made a mistake about hidden variable theories, but we are talking about a guy who gave us the first rigorous formulation of quantum theory, made major contributions to game theory and invented the modern computer architecture, so I’m willing to cut him some slack on that point.

Anyway, I thought I’d just mention the workshop at Princeton to mark 50 years since von Neumann’s death and 75 years since the publication of his book on quantum theory.  Looks like there were many interesting talks.

Foundations Summer School: Apply Now!

Just a short note to let you know that the application form for the Perimeter Institute Quantum Foundations Summer School is now available online from here. The application deadline is 20th May.

Update: I should have mentioned that for successful applicants who are grad students all expenses will be paid by Perimeter. That should make it easier to persuade your advisor to let you go. You don’t have to be an expert on foundations and we are hoping that students studying a wide variety of areas of Physics will attend.

Update 2: Whether non-students, e.g. postdocs, will be allowed to attend is still an open question. I’m waiting to hear more about this from the organizers. Clearly, the priority for a summer school has to be grad students, so I would speculate that it will depend on the number and quality of applications that we get. I’m just guessing at the moment though and I’ll post another update once I hear the official word.

Update 3: I have just heard that there will be up to 10 places will be made available at the summer school for postdocs and junior faculty.

Foundations at APS, take 2

It doesn’t seem that a year has gone by since I wrote about the first sessions on quantum foundations organized by the topical group on quantum information, concepts and computation at the APS March meeting. Nevertheless it has, and I am here in Denver after possibly the longest day of continuous sitting through talks in my life. I arrived at 8am to chair the session on Quantum Limited Measurements, which was interesting, but readers of this blog won’t want to hear about such practical matters, so instead I’ll spill the beans on the two foundations sessions that followed.

In the first foundations session, things got off to a good start with Rob Spekkens as the invited speaker explaining to us once again why quantum states are states of knowledge. OK, I’m biased because he’s a collaborator, but he did throw us a new tidbit on how to make an analog of the Elitzur Vaidman bomb experiment in his toy theory by constructing a version for field theory.

Next, there was a talk by some complete crackpot called Matt Leifer. He talked about this.

Frank Schroeck gave an overview of his formulation of quantum mechanics on phase space, which did pique my interest, but 10 minutes was really too short to do it justice. Someday I’ll read his book.

Chris Fuchs gave a talk which was surprisingly not the same as his usual quantum Bayesian propaganda speech. It contained some new results about Symmetric Informationally Complete POVMs, including the fact that the states the POVM elements are proportional to are minimum uncertainty states with respect to mutually unbiased bases. This should be hitting an arXiv near you very soon.

Caslav Brukner talked about his recent work on the emergence of classicality via coarse graining. I’ve mentioned it before on this blog, and it’s definitely a topic I’m becoming much more interested in.

Later on, Jeff Tollaksen talked about generalizing a theorem proved by Rob Spekkens and myself about pre- and post-selected quantum systems to the case of weak measurements. I’m not sure I agree with the particular spin he gives on it, especially his idea of “quantum contextuality”, but you can decide for yourself by reading this.

Jan-Ake Larrson gave a very comprehensible talk about a “loophole” (he prefers the term “experimental problem”) in Bell inequality tests to do with coincidence times of photon detection. You can deal with it by having a detection efficiency just a few percent higher than that needed to overcome the detection loophole. Read all about it here.

Most of the rest of the talks in this session were more quantum information oriented, but I suppose you can argue they were at the foundational end of quantum information. Animesh Datta talked about the role of entanglement in the Knill-Laflamme model of quantum computation with one pure qubit, Anil Shaji talked about using easily computable entanglement measures to put bounds on those that aren’t so easy to compute and finally Ian Durham made some interesting observations about the connections between entropy, information and Bell inequalities.

The second foundations session was more of a mixed bag, but let me just mention a couple of the talks that appealed to me. Marcello Sarandy Alioscia Hamma talked about generalizing the quantum adiabatic theorem to open systems, where you don’t necessarily have a Hamiltonian with well-defined eigenstates to talk about and Kicheon Kang talked about a proposal for a quantum eraser experiment with electrons.

On Tuesday, Bill Wootters won a prize for best research at an undergraduate teaching college. He gave a great talk about his discrete Wigner functions, which included some new stuff about minumum uncertainty states and analogs of coherent states.

That’s pretty much it for the foundations talks at APS this year. It’s all quantum information from here on in. That is unless you count Zeilinger, who is talking on Thursday. He’s supposed to be talking about quantum cryptography, but perhaps he will say something about the more foundationy experiments going on in his lab as well.

Dates for your diary

Update: I am informed that the Oxford Everett meeting will be in the summer rather than in September and is invitation only.  Also, there will be a Symposium on the Foundations of Modern Physics in Vienna 7th-10th June.  Registration for that is open until the end of March.

I haven’t been contemplating too many quantum quandaries recently because I was away at a workshop on Operator Structures in Quantum Information in Banff (a very interesting meeting and a highly recommended location) and am currently visiting Caltech. My brain is mostly full of mathematics and non-foundations oriented physics. In the meantime, here are some interesting foundations events coming up this summer.

Firstly, Perimeter Institute is organising its first Summer School on Quantum Foundations August 27th-31st. There have been several summer schools in other locations in the past, which have mostly been philosophy/interpretations oriented. The PI School will have a distinctly “physics” flavor, e.g. it will include lectures on experiments amongst other things. I’ve seen the list of speakers and it looks like it’s going to be really interesting. For grad students and postdocs interested in foundations, summer schools are highly recommended because of the sparsity of experts in the subject at most institutions. It’s how I became reasonably competent in the subject at any rate. Please don’t write to me requesting further details because I can’t help you. All the information is going to be posted on your favorite quantum websites/mailing lists very soon. Alternatively, you’ll be able to get to the school website via this link once it is up and running.

Secondly, the Institute for Quantum Computing and Perimeter are jointly running a series of quantum oriented workshops this summer under the banner Taming the Quantum World. There’s lots of interesting events for quantum information folks, so check out the website, but the workshop on Operational Quantum Physics and the Quantum-Classical Contrast, June 4th-7th, organized by Paul Busch and Lucien Hardy will be of special interest to readers of this blog.

Since I’m plugging foundations meetings at my own institutions, I should also mention Many Worlds at 50, organized by Jonathan Barrett, Adrian Kent and David Wallace, taking place September 21st-24th.

Given the number of meetings in Waterloo this year, it is somewhat surprising that the foundations community has also found time to organise some events at other locations. Here’s the rundown of the rest:

- March 5th-9th: APS March Meeting, Denver – Two focus sessions on quantum foundations have been organised.

- March 29th-31st: 15th UK and European Meeting on the Foundations of Physics, Leeds.

- April 13th-15th: New Directions in the Foundations of Physics, Maryland. It’s invitation only (and full) I’m afraid.

- June 11th-16th: Quantum Theory: Reconsideration of Foundations 4, Vaxjo.

- July 2nd-13th: Operational probabilistic theories as foils to quantum theory, Cambridge. It’s invitation only (and full).

- Sometime in September: Everett at 50, Oxford.

If I’ve missed any meetings or you have any new info on any of these then please leave a comment.