ar X iv : g r - qc / 9 40 90 05 v 1 2 S ep 1 99 4 UCSBTH - 94 - 04 Spacetime Information


In usual quantum theory, the information available about a quantum system is defined in terms of the density matrix describing it on a spacelike surface. This definition must be generalized for extensions of quantum theory which neither require, nor always permit, a notion of state on a spacelike surface. In particular, it must be generalized for the generalized quantum theories appropriate when spacetime geometry fluctuates quantum mechanically or when geometry is fixed but not foliable by spacelike surfaces. This paper introduces a four-dimensional notion of the information available about a quantum system’s boundary conditions in the various sets of decohering, coarse-grained histories it may display. This spacetime notion of information coincides with the familiar one when quantum theory is formulable in terms of states on spacelike surfaces but generalizes this notion when it cannot be so formulated. The idea of spacetime information is applied in several contexts: When spacetime geometry is fixed the information available through alternatives restricted to a fixed spacetime region is defined. The information available through histories of alternatives of general operators is compared to that obtained from the more limited coarse-grainings of sum-over-histories quantum mechanics that refer only to coördinates. The definition of information is considered in generalized quantum theories. We consider as specific examples time-neutral quantum mechanics with initial and final conditions, quantum theories with non-unitary evolution, and the generalized quantum frameworks appropriate for quantum spacetime. In such theories complete information about a quantum system is not necessarily available on any spacelike surface but must be searched for throughout spacetime. The information ∗

Cite this paper

@inproceedings{Hartle2008arXI, title={ar X iv : g r - qc / 9 40 90 05 v 1 2 S ep 1 99 4 UCSBTH - 94 - 04 Spacetime Information}, author={James B. Hartle}, year={2008} }