Towards Space from Hilbert Space: Finding Lattice Structure in Finite-Dimensional Quantum Systems.
Field theories place one or more degrees of freedom at every point in space. Hilbert spaces describing quantum field theories, or their finite-dimensional discretizations on lattices, therefore have large amounts of structure: they are isomorphic to the tensor product of a smaller Hilbert space for each lattice site or point in space. Local field theories respecting this structure have interactions which preferentially couple nearby points. The emergence of classicality through decoherence relies on this framework of tensor-product decomposition and local interactions. We explore the emergence of such lattice structure from Hilbert-space considerations alone. We point out that the vast majority of finite-dimensional Hilbert spaces cannot be isomorphic to the tensor product of Hilbert-space subfactors that describes a lattice theory. A generic Hilbert space can only be split into a direct sum corresponding to a basis of state vectors spanning the Hilbert space; we consider setups in which the direct sum is naturally decomposed into two pieces. We define a notion of direct-sum locality which characterizes states and decompositions compatible with Hamiltonian time evolution. We illustrate these notions for a toy model that is the finite-dimensional discretization of the quantum-mechanical double-well potential. We discuss their relevance in cosmology and field theory, especially for theories which describe a landscape of vacua with different spacetime geometries.
Publisher URL: http://arxiv.org/abs/1801.10168
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