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Proceedings Paper

A choice of wave functions in the making of time
Author(s): John M. Myers; F. Hadi Madjid
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Paper Abstract

Atomic clocks exchanging signals serve as a background against which to measure the motion of objects on or near the Earth. The background of clocks and signals requires feedback involving computation, both internal to each clock and for regulating relations between clocks. Feedback within a clock responds to a flow of measured outcomes which, by quantum theory, are unpredictable. The steering of atomic clocks in response to unpredictable occurrences of outcomes depends on a wave function, and the choice of this wave function requires an assumption underivable in any logic consistent with quantum theory—another form of unpredictability. Currently backgrounds for motion, for example used in the Global Positioning System, consist of one or another (physical) reference frame as a realization of a (mathematical) reference system that consists of a spacetime coordinate chart with a specified metric tensor field—a structure that expresses neither the unpredictability inherent in atomic clocks nor the feedback by which one deals with this unpredictability. Without requiring the assumption of a metric tensor or even a spacetime, here we introduce a novel type of reference system consisting of the records and criteria resident in real-time computers that mediate feedback, a reference system that, by expressing feedback, structures the unpredictables in a background of motion. The criteria for clock adjustment are discussed. Trade-offs involved in these criteria call for adjusting a background in response to the motion of the objects tracked.

Paper Details

Date Published: 28 May 2013
PDF: 10 pages
Proc. SPIE 8749, Quantum Information and Computation XI, 87490Q (28 May 2013); doi: 10.1117/12.2016031
Show Author Affiliations
John M. Myers, Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (United States)
F. Hadi Madjid, Consultant (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 8749:
Quantum Information and Computation XI
Eric Donkor; Andrew R. Pirich; Howard E. Brandt, Editor(s)

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