Information is Physical, but Physics is Logical

Photograph of Samson Abramsky

Samson Abramsky


Quantum information and computation opens up fascinating new perspectives at the interface between Physics and Computer Science. It forces us to take seriously the idea that information and computational processes are physically embodied. Indeed, we can take advantage of this to exploit quantum phenomena such as entanglement.

My aim is to apply some of the distinctive methods of Computer Science, above all compositional semantics and logic, to develop high-level methods for quantum information and computation.

In joint work with Bob Coecke, we have developed a novel axiomatization of (finitary, non-relativistic) quantum mechanics, which is both more abstract and more expressive than that laid down by von Neumann in his classical work on Mathematical Foundations of Quantum Mechanics (1932), which is still the de facto standard presentation. This allows us to give complete descriptions and proofs of correctness of several leading quantum protocols. More importantly, it lays bare the logical structure of the information flow inherent in quantum entanglement. This leads in turn to a development of Categorical Quantum Logic, in progress jointly with my student Ross Duncan.
Thursday 28th October 2004, 14:00
Robert Recorde Room
Department of Computer Science