The Gambler's Ruin Problem and Quantum Measurement

Fabrice Debbasch
(Sorbonne Universite)

The dynamics of a single microscopic or mesoscopic non quantum system interacting with a macroscopic environment is generally stochastic. In the same way, the reduced density operator of a single quantum system interacting with a macroscopic environment is a priori a stochastic variable, and decoherence describes only the average dynamics of this variable, not its fluctuations. It is shown that a general unbiased quantum measurement can be reformulated as a gambler's ruin problem where the game is a martingale. Born's rule then appears as a direct consequence of the optional stopping theorem for martingales. Explicit computations are worked out in detail on a specific simple example.

In Giuseppe Di Molfetta, Vivien Kendon and Yutaka Shikano: Proceedings 9th International Conference on Quantum Simulation and Quantum Walks (QSQW 2020), Marseille, France, 20-24/01/2020, Electronic Proceedings in Theoretical Computer Science 315, pp. 100–111.
Published: 3rd April 2020.

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