Thermodynamical cost of some interpretations of quantum theory
Date of Issue2016
School of Physical and Mathematical Sciences
The interpretation of quantum theory is one of the longest-standing debates in physics. Type I interpretations see quantum probabilities as determined by intrinsic properties of the observed system. Type II see them as relational experiences between an observer and the system. It is usually believed that a decision between these two options cannot be made simply on purely physical grounds but requires an act of metaphysical judgment. Here we show that, under some assumptions, the problem is decidable using thermodynamics. We prove that type I interpretations are incompatible with the following assumptions: (i) The choice of which measurement is performed can be made randomly and independently of the system under observation, (ii) the system has limited memory, and (iii) Landauer's erasure principle holds.
Physical Review A
© 2016 American Physical Society (APS). This paper was published in Physical Review A and is made available as an electronic reprint (preprint) with permission of American Physical Society (APS). The published version is available at: [http://dx.doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevA.94.052127]. One print or electronic copy may be made for personal use only. Systematic or multiple reproduction, distribution to multiple locations via electronic or other means, duplication of any material in this paper for a fee or for commercial purposes, or modification of the content of the paper is prohibited and is subject to penalties under law.