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Quantum Physics Meets Causal Inference

Friday October 30, 2020
3:30 pm

 Presenter:  Rob Spekkens Perimeter Institute
 Series:  Physics and Astronomy Colloquium
 Abstract:  How effective is a given medical treatment and can this be determined without the significant expense of a randomized controlled trial? How can the impact of a new policy be disentangled from other factors that happen to vary at the time it is implemented? Questions such as these are the purview of the field of causal inference. It aims to devise techniques for extracting causal conclusions from statistical data, and more broadly to develop a general-purpose science of cause and effect, applicable in domains ranging from epidemiology to economics. Meanwhile, one of the most significant results in the foundations of quantum theory — Bell’s theorem — can also be understood as an attempt to disentangle correlation and causation. Recently, it has been recognized that Bell’s 1964 result is an early foray into the field of causal inference and that the insights derived from 56 years of research on his theorem can supplement and improve upon state-of-the-art causal inference techniques. In the other direction, the conceptual framework developed by causal inference researchers provides a fruitful new perspective on what could possibly count as a satisfactory causal explanation of the quantum correlations observed in Bell experiments. Efforts to elaborate upon these connections have led to an exciting flow of techniques and insights across the disciplinary divide. This talk will explore what is happening at the intersection of these two fields.
 Web Site:    https:/ / www.perimeterinstitute.ca/ people/ robert-spekkens
 Host:  Carlton Caves
 Location:  Zoom

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