06 August 2017 Paul Ehrenfest Best Paper Award for 2016

ICFO researchers receive best paper award for Algorithmic Pseudorandomness in Quantum Setups The Paul Ehrenfest Best Paper Award, given by the Institute for Quantum Optics and Quantum Information in Austria, is a prize for the most significant publication in the foundations of quantum physics, theoretical or experimental, during one calendar year. The aim of the award is to raise awareness for the field of quantum foundations, and to draw attention to new and interesting achievements in this area without delay. Candidate publications have to be published in a peer-reviewed journal. Other than that, papers from all areas in the foundations of quantum physics, and by authors of any background, are eligible to receive the award.

Researchers Ariel Bendersky, Gonzalo de la Torre, Gabriel Senno, Santiago Figueira, and ICREA Prof at ICFO Antonio Acín have been named recipients of the 2016 award for their paper titled Algorithmic Pseudorandomness in Quantum Setups, published in Physical Review Letters. This paper argues that quantum experiments requiring randomness exhibit a different behavior depending on whether we use pseudo-randomness produced by Turing machines or true randomness. To prove their point, the authors identify situations in which ensembles of quantum states defining the same mixed state become arbitrarily distinguishable when prepared by a computer. Their work also points out a new loophole in the violation of Bell inequalities, stemming from the use of pseudorandom number generators to choose the measurement settings.

The researchers groups led by Morgan Mitchell and Valerio Pruneri co-authored three landmark Bell test studies in 2015 which were the recipients of the 2015 Paul Ehrenfest Best Paper Award, making this the second year in a row that ICFO research has been recognized for the significance of its contributions in the area of the foundations of quantum physics.