Ensemble Steering, Weak Self-Duality, and the Structure of Probabilistic Theories

Foundations of Physics 43 (12):1411-1427 (2013)


In any probabilistic theory, we say that a bipartite state ω on a composite system AB steers its marginal state ω B if, for any decomposition of ω B as a mixture ω B =∑ i p i β i of states β i on B, there exists an observable {a i } on A such that the conditional states $\omega_{B|a_{i}}$ are exactly the states β i . This is always so for pure bipartite states in quantum mechanics, a fact first observed by Schrödinger in 1935. Here, we show that, for weakly self-dual state spaces (those isomorphic, but perhaps not canonically isomorphic, to their dual spaces), the assumption that every state of a system A is steered by some bipartite state of a composite AA consisting of two copies of A, amounts to the homogeneity of the state cone. If the state space is actually self-dual, and not just weakly so, this implies (via the Koecher-Vinberg Theorem) that it is the self-adjoint part of a formally real Jordan algebra, and hence, quite close to being quantum mechanical

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