Co-Sponsored Event: Decoding Spacetime; Information Theory in Physics

Wednesday, June 27th, 2018 at 6:00 PM to 7:30 PM

David Packard Electrical Engineering 350 Serra Mall Stanford, CA 94305


6:00 - 6:30 PM Networking & Refreshments
6:30 - 7:15 PM Talks
7:15 - 7:30 PM Q&A, Speaker Appreciation & Adjournment

Chair: IEEE Information Theory Society
Organizer: IEEE Information Theory Society

Speaker: Prof. Patrick Hayden

Bio: Patrick Hayden is a professor of physics at Stanford University. Prior to joining Stanford, Hayden was the Canada Research Chair in the Physics of Information at McGill University. He is currently a Simons Investigator, distinguished research chair of the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, and senior fellow of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research.

Hayden’s research focuses on understanding the ultimate limits physics imposes on information processing, and finding ways to exploit quantum mechanics to achieve otherwise impossible communications and computing goals. Recently he has also been applying the methods of quantum information theory to the study of black hole physics and quantum gravity.

Title: Quantum Information Theory in Physics

Abstract: When Shannon formulated his groundbreaking theory of information in 1948, he did not know what to call its central quantity, a measure of uncertainty. It was von Neumann who recognized Shannon’s formula from statistical physics and suggested the name entropy. This was but the first in a series of remarkable connections between physics and information theory. Later, tantalizing hints from the study of quantum fields and gravity, such as the Bekenstein-Hawking formula for the entropy of a black hole, inspired Wheeler’s famous 1990 exhortation to derive “it from bit.” That three-syllable manifesto asserted that to properly unify the geometry of general relativity with the indeterminacy of quantum mechanics, it would be necessary to inject fundamentally new ideas from information theory. Wheeler’s vision was sound, but it came twenty-five years early. Only now is it coming to fruition, with the twist that classical bits have given way to the qubits of quantum information theory.

This talk will provide a tour of some of the recent developments at the intersection of quantum information and fundamental physics that are the source of this renewed excitement.