I’m going to take another hiatus from blogging, until at least August 1, 2006. I was hoping to come back to my blog properly, but realize that I have too many other things going on. I do hope to blog again one day, and have some ideas for large project into which the blog would be integrated. (I rather like the way Kevin Kelley is using a blog to test out ideas for a book, and could potentially see myself doing the same thing.)

For now, I’ll leave you to ponder a provocative recent comment posted by John Sidles. I haven’t yet read the paper in question, but the authors, Conway and Kochen, are top-notch mathematicians, and I’m looking forward to reading it at some point.

Boy, is it quiet, both here and on Bacon’s Quantum Pontiff. Just to stir things up, what do people think of the preprint on the arxiv server this morning:

The Free Will Theorem” http://www.arxiv.org/abs/quant-ph/0604079

Such titles are often associated with fringe physics — except that these particular nutjobs are the mathematicians John Conway and Simon Kochen!

These guys may be nutjobs, but they are high-power nutjobs, and I enjoyed their preprint very much.

In engineering, we tend to think of every quantum problem as an exercise in model order reduction (MOR). But our MOR colleagues (and there are a lot of them — there are more academic articles by far on MOR than on open quantum systems!) always complain that simulation algorithms for open quantum systems are stochastic. “Can’t you eliminate the stochasticity, and make your open quantum system model deterministic?” they complain.

The Conway/Kochen Free Will Theorem answers that question pretty crisply, by showing that open quantum systems have properties that *no* (locallyrealistic) deterministic simulation can exhibit. And, they prove it in a fun way.

Also, it’s just not right to ignore an article that begins “Do we really have free will, or, as a few determined folk maintain, is it all an illusion? We dont know, but will prove in this paper that if indeed there exist any experimenters with a modicum of free will, then elementary
particles must have their own share of this valuable commodity.”

All the above is just to stimulate some comment!

Categorized as General