Purity Without Probability

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Pure states and pure transformations play a crucial role in most of the recent reconstructions of quantum theory. In the frameworks of general probabilistic theories, purity is defined in terms of probabilistic mixtures and bears an intuitive interpretation of ``maximal knowledge" of the state of the system or of the evolution undergone by it.  On the other hand, many quantum features do not need the probabilistic structure of the theory. For example, Schumacher and Westmoreland formulated a toy theory that only specifies which events are possible (without quantifying they probability) and still reproduces a large number of quantum features. In this talk I will provide a probability-free definition of pure states and pure transformations, which can expressed in the categorical framework of process theories developed by Abramsky and Coecke and coincides with the usual notion under standard assumptions. Building on this definition, I will present a probability-free version of the purification principle, which allows one to retrieve a large number of quantum features even in the lack of probabilistic structure. This work is part of a larger programme that aims at drawing the line between those aspects of quantum theory that can be defined solely in terms of operations in a circuit and those that rely on the subjective expectations of an agent.


Related works:  
-GC, Distinguishability and copiability of programs in general process theories, arXiv:1411.3035;  
-Categorical purification, http://www.cs.ox.ac.uk/CQM2014/programme/Giulio.pdf 
-GC, G. M. D'Ariano, and P. Perinotti, Probabilistic theories with purification, Phys. Rev. A 81, 062348 (2010)