Quantum Foundations of a Classical Universe

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

(Mouse-over for names. Download versions: [without names], [with names], [original].)

Accomodations and travel expenses

A block of hotel rooms at Holiday Inn Mt. Kisco has been booked for the evenings of August 11th through the morning of the 15th. Please contact Lisa Kaiser at lkaiser@us.ibm.com before July 15th to obtain a room.

Participants who do not have other access to support can obtain reimbursement for the cost of the hotel, air travel, and ground travel to and from the airport. (We are unable to reimburse for rental cars; transportation will be provided from the hotel to IBM each day, and the town of Mt. Kisco is modest and walkable.) Please choose the most economical flights and transportation possible, and give Deidre Thomas at thomasdl@us.ibm.com your arrival and departure information when you get it. Please also send all receipts to Deidre after the conference concludes.

The easiest way to get to IBM from the airport is to split a taxi or shuttle van. These do not require advanced notice, so please purchase your plane tickets and inform Deidre of your arrival and departure times so that we can group you together.

If you are combining this trip with personal travel, please run it by Charlie and Jess at chdbennett@gmail.com and jessriedel@gmail.com before purchasing. You will be reimbursed for the simpler, direct itinerary you would have taken without the personal travel, so please obtain a quote for that. You will still need to provide your actual receipts to Deidre later.


IBM Watson Research Center Mt. Kisco Holiday Inn
1101 Kitchawan Road
Yorktown Heights, NY 10598
1 Holiday Inn Dr
Mt Kisco, NY 10549
If you are using a GPS system, please enter "200 Aqueduct Road, Ossining NY" for accurate directions to the lab entrance.
Basic text directions to the lab can be found here. Basic text directions to the Holiday Inn Mt. Kisco can be found here.

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.