- Introduction
    - Winners
Previous Programs

2018 Agency in the Physical World
2018 Awardees

2016 Physics of the Observer
2016 Awardees

2015 The Physics of What Happens
2015 Awardees

2013 Physics of Information
2013 Awardees

2010 The Nature of Time
2010 Awardees

2008 Foundational Questions in Physics and Cosmology
2008 Awardees

2006 Foundational Questions in Physics and Cosmology
2006 Awardees

Dr. Bob Coecke
Oxford University

Project Title

The Road to a New Quantum Formalism: Categories as a Canvas for Quantum Foundations

Project Summary

When watching television, we don't observe the `low-level' matrices of tiny pixels the screen is made up from, but rather `high-level' Gestalts of each of the figuring entities making up the story that the images convey. These entities and their story is the essence of the images; the matrix of pixels is just a technologically convenient representation. Similarly, in modern computer programming, one does not `speak' in terms of 0s and 1s, but rather relies on high-level concepts about information flow. The way we reason nowadays about quantum theory is still very `low-level', in terms of matices of so-called complex numbers. Recent work identified a high-level formal framework for quantum theory, resulting in purely diagrammatic languages for reason and compution, and also corresponding logics, that is, languages which a computer `understands'. By not making explicit the underlying `low-level pixels' there is still plenty of freedom to articulate the ideas behind other important foundational work on quantum theory. Therefore our approach can act as a canvas on which we can paint a variety of theories of physical reality. This would provide us with a true image of nature, rather than its pixels.

Back to List of Awardees  
Please enter your e-mail address:

Note: Joining the FQXi mailing list does not give you a login account or constitute membership in the organization.