The Quantum Physicist as Causal Detective: an Oct. 7, 2020 event

I love mysteries and am quite interested in the nature of reality (you, too?) and that gives us something in common with a couple of Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics (PI; Canada) researchers. From The Quantum Physicist as Causal Detective event page on the website (notice received via email),

In their live webcast from Perimeter on October 7 [2020], Robert Spekkens and Elie Wolfe will shed light on the exciting possibilities brought about by applying quantum thinking to the science of cause and effect.

Watch the live webcast on this page on Wednesday, October 7 [2020] at 7 pm ET.

What do data science and the foundations of quantum theory have to do with one another?

A great deal, it turns out. The particular branch of data science known as causal inference focuses on a problem which is central to disciplines ranging from epidemiology to economics: that of disentangling correlation and causation in statistical data.

Meanwhile, in a slightly different guise, this same problem has been pondered by quantum physicists as part of a continuing effort to make sense of various puzzling quantum phenomena. On top of that, the most celebrated result concerning quantum theory’s meaning for the nature of reality – Bell’s theorem – can be seen in retrospect to be built on the solution to a particularly challenging problem in causal inference.

Recent efforts to elaborate upon these connections have led to an exciting flow of techniques and insights across the disciplinary divide.

Perimeter researchers Robert Spekkens and Elie Wolfe have done pioneering work studying relations of cause and effect through a quantum foundational lens, and can be counted among a small number of physicists worldwide with expertise in this field.

In their joint webcast from Perimeter [at 7 pm ET] on October 7 [2020], Spekkens and Wolfe will explore what is happening at the intersection of these two fields and how thinking like a quantum physicist leads to new ways of sussing out cause and effect from correlation patterns in statistical data.

For those of us on the West Coast, that webcast will be at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020 and I believe you can watch it here.

2 thoughts on “The Quantum Physicist as Causal Detective: an Oct. 7, 2020 event

  1. Eli Honig

    Unfortunately this is not a comment, but a request. I missed the Nov 7 webcast and would like to know if I can still access it, and if so how.

    As an aside for Dr. Wolfe, like him I am a graduate in physics from Yeshiva College but way back in 1963. As well, I have an MA from Belfer at YU (now defunct) and a PhD in relativity theory from NYU in 1973. Though I have been retired for some years, the topic of the webcast sounded very interesting.

    Thank you for time and trouble in considering my request.

  2. Maryse de la Giroday Post author

    Hello! Thank you for dropping by my blog. No worries about making a request. To my surprise, the Perimeter Institute has already posted a video of last night’s (Oct. 7, 2020) talk:
    One comment: there’s close to 15 mins. of Perimeter Institute ‘ads’ before you get to the online lecture ‘The Quantum Physicist as Causal Detective’. Happy viewing and listening, Maryse PS I think if you love something you never really retire from it.

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