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Tales of a not-quite-probability distribution

Available to watch now, IOP Publishing, in partnership with Hiden Analytical, explores quasiprobability distributions

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Quasiprobability distributions resemble probability distributions but can contain negative and imaginary values. Such distributions represent quantum states as probability distributions over phase space represent states in classical statistical mechanics. Many quasiprobabilities exist, the most famous being the Wigner function. Among the least famous ranks the Kirkwood–Dirac distribution, discovered during the early 1900s and then forgotten.

The speaker, Nicole Yunger Halpern, will generalize the Kirkwood–Dirac distribution, then show how the generalization informs quantum thermodynamics, quantum information scrambling, and quantum metrology.

Arvidsson-Shukur, NYH, Lepage, Lasek, Barnes, and Lloyd, Nat. Comms. 11, 3775 (2020).
NYH, Bartolotta, and Pollack, Comms. Phys. 2, 92 (2019).
NYH, Swingle, and Dressel, Phys. Rev. A 97, 042105 (2018).
NYH, Phys. Rev. A 95, 012120 (2017).

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Nicole Yunger Halpern is an ITAMP Postdoctoral Fellow at Harvard. She earned her PhD at Caltech in 2018, winning the international Ilya Prigogine Prize for a thermodynamics thesis. In 2020, she won the International Quantum Technology Emerging Researcher Award from the Institute of Physics. Nicole re-envisions 19th-century thermodynamics for the 21st century using the mathematical toolkit of quantum information theory. She calls this research “quantum steampunk”, after the steampunk genre of art and literature that juxtaposes Victorian settings with futuristic technologies.

Speaker relationship with IOP Publishing

Winner of the International Quantum Technology Emerging Researcher Award, IOP Publishing Quantum 2020 conference.

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