Dance of the Qutrits

Molly Kaplan
High Energy Theory Group


The exchange of quantum information is an integral part of our world. It underlies the physics of everything around us–from the flowers blooming to the sun rising. Quantum information also shapes our universe at its largest scales, governing the behavior of black holes and even space-time itself.


This work is a creative interpretation of the way quantum information controls the cosmos. It is based on a toy model of quantum information exchange, called the three qutrit code. A “qutrit” is a unit of quantum information realized by a three-level system, say with states labeled 0, 1 and 2. The three qutrit code has two parts: first is the encoding, where the quantum state of one qutrit (the “message”) is copied into the state of three qutrits. Next is the decoding, where one can act on the three qutrit state in a clever way to get back the original message. Importantly, we can do this decoding even if we lose some information along the way, which is why this scheme is known as a quantum error correction code. The lyrics of the song follow this scheme in detail, with the words “tangle”, “space”, and “bound” representing the states 0, 1, and 2, respectively. The artwork shows the view of sunrise from the Ellwood bluffs, with the three qutrits warping the mountains and meadows.


Link to the song: Dance of the Qutrits