Senior Researcher, Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, Adjunct Professor, University of Waterloo
Christopher Fuchs is a Senior Researcher at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Waterloo, Canada and an Adjunct Professor at the University of Waterloo. He is a winner of the 2010 International Quantum Communication Award and Chair of the American Physical Society Topical Group on Quantum Information.
Physicists have become accustomed to the idea that a theory's content is always most transparent when written in coordinate-free language. Sometimes, though, the choice of a good coordinate system can be quite useful for settling deep conceptual issues. This is particularly so for an information-oriented or Bayesian approach to quantum foundations: One good coordinate system may be worth more than a hundred blue-in-the-face arguments. This talk will motivate and chronicle the search for one such class of coordinate systems for finite dimensional operator spaces, the so-called Symmetric Informationally Complete (SIC, pronounced "seek") measurements. The desired class will take little more than five minutes to define, but the quest to construct these objects will carry us down a 35-year journey, with the most frenzied activity only recently. Beyond this, we will turn the tables and discuss how one might hope to get the formal content of quantum mechanics out of the very existence of such a coordinate system. It has to do with seeing the Born Rule as a "tiny" modification to the Bayesian Law of Total Probability.