Date of Award




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of Physics

Content Description

1 online resource (xvii, 441 pages) : color illustrations.

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Ariel Caticha

Committee Members

Justin Curry, Daniel Robbins, Oleg Lunin


Entropy, Information Geometry, Pauli Equation, Probability, Spin, Inference, Maximum entropy method, Quantum theory, Pauli exclusion principle, Rotational motion

Subject Categories

Numerical Analysis and Scientific Computing | Other Physics | Physics


This thesis concerns the foundations of inference – probability theory,entropic inference, information geometry, etc. – and its application to the Entropic Dynamics (ED) approach to Quantum Mechanics (QM) [21, 22, 41, 53, 56–61, 150–153, 165, 195, 196, 268]. The first half of this thesis, chapters 2-6, concern the development of the inference framework. We begin in chapter 2 by discussing de- ductive inference, which involves formal logic and it’s role in access- ing the truth of propositions. We eventually discover that deductive inference is incomplete, in that it can’t address situations in which we have incomplete information. This necessitates a theory of inductive inference (probability theory), which is developed in chapter 3. Prob- ability theory is derived as a framework for manipulating degrees of belief of propositions, in a way which is consistent with its deduc- tive counterpart [47]. In chapter 4 we review the construction of en- tropic inference as a means for updating our beliefs in the presence of new information. The entropy functional is designed through the pro- cess of eliminative induction by imposing a principle of minimal updating (PMU) and various constraints [47, 238, 242, 266, 267]. Chapter 5 con- siders the design of another entropic functional, the total correlation and all its variants, for the purposes of ranking join distributions with respect to their correlations [46]. Finally, in chapter 6, we discuss the application of a special case of the correlation functionals from chap- ter 5, the mutual information, to problems in experimental physics and machine learning [42–45]. The second half of this thesis, chapters 7-9, concerns the ED ap- proach to QM. In particular, chapters 8 and 9 involve the inclusion of particles with spin 1/2 into the framework [41, 61]. These devel- opments are the main contribution of this thesis to the body of work in the ED approach. The problem is defined as an application of in- ference to the dynamics of quantum particles which have definite yet unknown positions and follow continuous trajectories. Through the method of maximum entropy developed in chapter 4, we can deter- mine the transition probability that these particles will move from one location to another. Geometric algebra (GA) [90, 140] is chosen as the preferred representation for the algebra of spin, which is then introduced through constraints in the maximum entropy method. A quantum mechanics is subsequently developed by constructing an epistemic phase space of probabilities and constraints and imposing that the physically relevant flows in this space are those which preserve a particular metric and symplectic form. These flows lead to a linear Pauli equation for one and two particles with spin.