Bob Coecke



I am Professor of Quantum Foundations, Logics and Structures and GB Fellow of Wolfson College at Oxford University. My collegue Samson Abramsky and I jointly head the Quantum Group at Oxford University Computing Laboratory, depicted above in the meanwhile outdated group picture; I am the one with the shades. We are part of the Foundations, Logic and Structures theme. The research in the group covers a broad spectrum, also including a substantial chunk of Foundations of Physics and Category Theory research. On my official departmental webpage you find a short bio, contact details, and up to date news items. Here's a cv.

My main research achievement to date is probably Categorical Quantum Mechanics, which I pioneered with Abramsky and to which I made many contributions, the most notable ones in joint work with Pavlovic, Duncan, Perdrix and Kissinger. A good place to start reading about this research are the papers Kindergarten quantum mechanics (2005) and Quantum picturalism (2009). A recent physicist friendly category theory tutorial on category theory for physicists is Categories for the practising physicist (2009). A tutorial entitled Quantum information processing: a new light on the quantum formalism and quantum foundations can be found on this page.

There are also several talks by me available online:

and some blog entries discussing this work, by John Baez at the n-category cafe and by Dick Lipton at Godel's lost letter and P=NP. We made it to the n-cafe also for other reasons.

My PhD students are working in a variety of areas. Raymond Lal, Shane Mansfield and Johan Paulsson are mainly interested in the foundations of quantum mechanics, Jxxxx Bxxxxxxx and Ed Blakey are interested in a variety of computational models of physical origin, Philip Atzemoglou and Jakub Zavodny are interested in semantics for quantum computing, Aleks Kissinger and Alex Merry turn categorical diagrammatic calculi into software, Ed Grefenstette is with one foot in categorical quantum stuff and with the other one in computational linguistics, and finally, Andrei Akhvlediani is a mathematician interested in category theory, who wants to prove all kinds of spider theorems hoping that one day he becomes spiderman. A lot of PhD students indeed, but fortunately I am in the possession of a coecke machine for drilling, grinding and hydraulic punching purposes. Here is a selection of related theses.

Postdocs working with me are Ross Duncan, Bill Edwards, Chris Heunen and Jamie Vicary, on categorical quantum mechanics, and Mehrnoosh Sadrzadeh, on dynamic epistemic logic and distributional models of meaning. I also work with regular visitors Dusko Pavlovic and Rick Blute. This summer Lucien Hardy will be here on a Sabatical, and next year Prakash Panangaden. Here are some successful grant proposals.



  • I happily accept donations of research funding by military and religious institutions.

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