Quantum Information Dynamics and Open World Science

Dominic Widdows, Peter Bruza

One of the fundamental insights of quantum mechanics is that complete knowledge of the state of a quantum system is not possible. Such incomplete knowledge of a physical system is the norm rather than the exception. This is becoming increasingly apparent as we apply scientific methods to increasingly complex situations. Empirically intensive disciplines in the biological, human, and geosciences all operate in situations where valid conclusions must be drawn, but deductive completeness is impossible. This paper argues that such situations are emerging examples of "Open World" Science. In this paradigm, scientific models are known to be acting with incomplete information. Open World models acknowledge their incompleteness, and respond positively when new information becomes available. Many methods for creating Open World models have been explored analytically in quantitative disciplines such as statistics, and the increasingly mature area of machine learning. This paper examines the role of quantum theory and quantum logic in the underpinnings of Open World models, examining the importance of structural features of such as non-commutativity, degrees of similarity, induction, and the impact of observation. Quantum mechanics is not a problem around the edges of classical theory, but is rather a secure bridgehead in the world of science to come.

Subjects: 9.4 Philosophical Foundations; 1.10 Information Retrieval

Submitted: Jan 26, 2007

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