As a thought experiment, would it be logically plausible to claim that the apparent randomness of Quantum Mechanics could be explained by the existence of a universal and deterministic pseudo-random number generator (PRNG)? And this PRNG could be used to feed a plethora of pseudo-random sampling functions underlying all probabilistic distributions in Quantum Mechanics. If this is logically possible, then that would mean determinism is not incompatible with Quantum Mechanics.


closed as off-topic by Alfred Centauri, ZeroTheHero, Kyle Kanos, knzhou, ACuriousMind May 11 '18 at 16:35

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  • $\begingroup$ Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. $\endgroup$ – rob May 12 '18 at 5:12

Various theorems show that you can't reproduce the predictions of quantum mechanics with a locally deterministic theory, and that you can't have a hidden variables theory in which complementary observables simultaneously actually have the values (or distribution of values) that they would exhibit when measured. So quantum randomness isn't going to come e.g. from something akin to subquantum brownian motion, without your 'deterministic' subquantum theory having some unusual causal features like nonlocality or backwards-in-time causality.

  • $\begingroup$ What about a non-local deterministic pseudo-random number generator? $\endgroup$ – xwb May 11 '18 at 4:04
  • $\begingroup$ @xwb but that is what quantum mechanics is, in this sense. It is deterministic, but it determines probabilities. a pseudo random number generator would to the same, like the pilot wave theory of Bohm. $\endgroup$ – anna v May 11 '18 at 7:53
  • $\begingroup$ @xwb Bohmian mechanics is nonlocal and deterministic, but assumes a certain probability distribution for initial conditions - that initial probability distribution is how it subsequently obtains the right probability distribution for measurements. Occasionally people talk about a cosmological Bohmian mechanics in which the Bohmian probability axiom for subsystems of the universe derives from cosmic initial conditions - in which case those initial conditions would be your pseudoRNG - but no such theory has been constructed in detail, and Bohmian theories have problems with relativity and spin. $\endgroup$ – Mitchell Porter May 11 '18 at 8:14

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