In our approach, rather than aiming to recover the 'Hilbert space model' which underpins the orthodox quantum mechanical formalism, we start from a general `pre-operational' framework, and verify how much additional structure we need to be able to describe a range of quantum phenomena. This also enables us to investigate which mathematical models, including more abstract categorical ones, enable one to model quantum theory. Till now, all of our axioms only refer to the particular nature of how compound quantum systems interact, rather that to the particular structure of state-spaces. This is in sharp contrast with other approaches of this kind which aim to recover quantum theory out of a much broader class of theories. A more abstract quantum mechanical model has other many advantages. It elucidates which are the key ingredients that make `the Hilbert space model' work. Since it relies on monoidal categories, it comes with a high-level diagrammatic description (which we think of as `the' mathematical formalism). It moreover removes the dependency on continuous underlying mathematical structures, paving the way for discrete combinatorial models, which might blend better with the other ingredients required for a theory of quantum gravity.


Talk Number PIRSA:09080013
Speaker Profile Bob Coecke