The existence of quantum error correcting codes is one of the most counterintuitive and potentially technologically important discoveries of quantum information theory. However, standard error correction refers to abstract quantum information, i.e., information that is independent of the physical incarnation of the systems used for storing the information. There are, however, other forms of information that are physical - one of the most ubiquitous being reference frame information. Here we analyze the problem of error correcting physical information. The basic question we seek to answer is whether or not such error correction is possible and, if so, what limitations govern the process. The main challenge is that the systems used for transmitting physical information, in addition to any actions applied to them, must necessarily obey these limitations. Encoding and decoding operations that obey a restrictive set of limitations need not exist a priori. We focus on the case of erasure errors, and we first show that the problem is equivalent to quantum error correction using group-covariant encodings. We prove a no-go theorem showing that that no finite dimensional, group-covariant quantum codes exist for Lie groups with an infinitesimal generator (e.g., U(1), SU(2), and SO(3)). We then explain how one can circumvent this no-go theorem using infinite dimensional codes, and we give an explicit example of a covariant quantum error correcting code using continuous variables for the group U(1). Finally, we demonstrate that all finite groups have finite dimensional codes, giving both an explicit construction and a randomized approximate construction with exponentially better parameters.
We apply and extend the theory of universal recovery channels from quantum information theory to address the problem of entanglement wedge reconstruction in AdS/CFT. It has recently been proposed that any low-energy local bulk operators in a CFT boundary region's entanglement wedge can be reconstructed on that boundary region itself. Existing work arguing for this proposal relies on algebraic consequences of the exact equivalence between bulk and boundary relative entropies, namely the theory of operator algebra quantum error correction. However, bulk and boundary relative entropies are only approximately equal in bulk effective field theory, and in similar situations it is known that predictions from exact entropic equalities can be qualitatively incorrect. The framework of universal recovery channels provides a robust demonstration of the entanglement wedge reconstruction conjecture in addition to new physical insights. Most notably, we find that a bulk operator acting in a given boundary region's entanglement wedge can be expressed as the response of the boundary region's modular Hamiltonian to a perturbation of the bulk state in the direction of the bulk operator. This formula can be interpreted as a noncommutative version of Bayes' rule that attempts to undo the noise induced by restricting to only a portion of the boundary, and has an integral representation in terms of modular flows. We illustrate the application of our formula in the 2+1 dimensional AdS-Rindler case, finding that it expresses local bulk operators in the AdS-Rindler wedge in terms of modes in the corresponding boundary region. To reach these conclusions, we extend the theory of universal recovery channels to finite-dimensional operator algebras and demonstrate that recovery channels approximately preserve the multiplicative structure of the operator algebra.