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CauCats: the backbone of a quantum relativistic universe of interacting processes

Recording Details

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PIRSA Number: 
10030058

Abstract

Our starting point is a particular `canvas' aimed to `draw' theories of physics, which has symmetric monoidal categories as its mathematical backbone. With very little structural effort (i.e. in very abstract terms) and in a very short time this categorical quantum mechanics research program has reproduced a surprisingly large fragment of quantum theory. Philosophically speaking, this framework shifts the conceptual focus from `material carriers' such as particles, fields, or other
`material stuff', to `logical flows of information', by mainly encoding how things stand in relation to each other. These relations could, for example, be induced by operations. Composition of these relations is the carrier of all structure.

Thus far the causal structure has been treated somewhat informally within this approach. In joint work with my student Raymond Lal, by restricting the capabilities to compose, we were able to formally encode causal connections. We call the resulting mathematical structure a CauCat, since it combines the symmetric monoidal stricture with Sorkin's CauSets within a single mathematical concept. The relations which now respect causal structure are referred to as processes, which make up the actual `happenings'. As a proof of concept, we show that if in a quantum teleportation protocol one omits classical communication, no information
is transfered. We also characterize Galilean theories.

Classicality is an attribute of certain processes, and measurements are special kinds of processes, defined in terms of their capabilities to correlate other processes to these classical attributes. So rather than quantization, what we do is classicization within our universe of processes. We show how classicality and the causal structure are tightly intertwined.

All of this is still very much work in progress!