Complex Systems

Demystifying Quantum Mechanics: A Simple Universe with Quantum Uncertainty Download PDF

Gary L. Drescher
Thinking Machines Corp., 245 First St., Cambridge, MA 02142


An artificial universe is defined that has entirely deterministic laws with exclusively local interactions, and that exhibits the fundamental quantum uncertainty phenomenon: superposed states mutually interfere, but only to the extent that no observation distinguishes among them. Showing how such a universe could be elucidates interpretational issues of actual quantum mechanics. The artificial universe is a much-simplified version of Everett's real-world model, the so-called multiple-worlds formulation of quantum mechanics. In the artificial world, as in Everett's model, the trade-off between interference and observation is deducible from the universe formalism. Artificial-world examples analogous to the quantum double-slit experiment and the Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen (EPR) experiment are presented.