Sunday, 1 July 2018

The symmetrical foundation of Measure, Probability and Quantum theories (2017)



A short, but foundational paper by John Skilling and Kevin Knuth (HERE). The abstract reads:

Quantification starts with sum and product rules that express combination and partition. These rules rest on elementary symmetries that have wide applicability, which explains why arithmetical adding up and splitting into proportions are ubiquitous. Specifically, measure theory formalises addition, and probability theory formalises inference in terms of proportions. 

Quantum theory rests on the same simple symmetries, but is formalised in two dimensions, not just one, in order to track an object through its binary interactions with other objects. The symmetries still require sum and product rules (here known as the Feynman rules), but they apply to complex numbers instead of real scalars, with observable probabilitiesbeing modulus-squared (known as the Born rule). The standard quantum formalism follows. There is no mystery or weirdness, just ordinary probabilistic inference.

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