## Characterizing quantum theory in terms of informationtheoretic constraints (2003)

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Venue: | Foundations of Physics |

Citations: | 28 - 3 self |

### BibTeX

@ARTICLE{Clifton03characterizingquantum,

author = {Rob Clifton and Jeffrey Bub and Hans Halvorson},

title = {Characterizing quantum theory in terms of informationtheoretic constraints},

journal = {Foundations of Physics},

year = {2003},

pages = {1561--1592}

}

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### Abstract

We show that three fundamental information-theoretic constraints—the impossibility of superluminal information transfer between two physical systems by performing measurements on one of them, the impossibility of broadcasting the information contained in an unknown physical state, and the impossibility of unconditionally secure bit commitment—suffice to entail that the observables and state space of a physical theory are quantum-mechanical. We demonstrate the converse derivation in part, and consider the implications of alternative answers to a remaining open question about nonlocality and bit commitment. KEY WORDS: quantum theory; information-theoretic constraints. Of John Wheeler’s ‘‘Really Big Questions,’ ’ the one on which most progress has been made is It from Bit?—does information play a significant role at the foundations of physics? It is perhaps less ambitious than some of the other Questions, such as How Come Existence?, because it does not necessarily require a metaphysical answer. And unlike, say, Why the Quantum?, it does not require the discovery of new laws of nature: there was room for hope that it might be answered through a better understanding of the laws as we currently know them, particularly those of quantum physics. And this is what has happened: the better understanding is the quantum theory of information and computation. 1