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Bob Coecke

Personal photo - Bob Coecke

Professor Bob Coecke

Visiting Fellow

E: coecke(a)
T: +44 1865 273829
T: +44 7881 333990

Room 210, Wolfson Building, Parks Road, Oxford OX1 3QD
United Kingdom


This is what I spend most of the past 12 years on:

Bob Coecke and Aleks Kissinger (2017) Picturing Quantum Processes. A First Course in Quantum Theory and Diagrammatic Reasoning. Cambridge University Press, 900 pages.

So buy it!  We deserve that beer that it will earn us!

More generally, I am interested in the Foundations of Physics, in particular the structures involved, with a strong structural bias towards Logic, Order and Category Theory, and their applications e.g. arXiv.  I am particularly obsessed with alternatives to symbolic reasoning, mostly pictures e.g. arXiv, arXiv, arXiv.  I am also active on compositional distributional models of natural language meaning e.g. arXiv, arXiv, arXiv, and I am even migrating in the direction of understanding our brain.  Some popular writings on my work are The quantum linguist and Quantum mechanical words and mathematical organisms.  Older work includes information domains e.g. arXiv, dynamic epistemic logic e.g. arXiv, and even longer ago, contextual hidden variable models and quantum logic.  I currently have 20 PhD students, and here are some past MSc and DPhil theses from the group.  I lead a multidisciplinary research group, the Quantum Group, which now has 50 plus members.  My papers can be accessed via Google Scholar.  On the arXiv, you'll find papers in arXiv:quant-pharXiv:math as well as in arXiv:CS.  Here are some successful grant proposals and here some not welsewhere published papers.  Since January 2019, I am also Scientific Advisor for Cambridge Quantum Computing Ltd.

Photo credit: Bernard Galewski


  • [Jul'19] I Organised ACT II here at Oxford.  We must have had well over 150 participants. 
  • [Sep'18] We started a new conference+school series in Applied Category Theory.  We had a pilot last year at the Lorentz Centre, and the next one will be here at Oxford, July 15-26, 2019.
  • [Jun'18] We started a new diamond open-access journal named Compositionality.
  • [May'17] We received some money from the department to start setting up our `kindergarten quantum mechanics' experiments!  Planing to have the actual experiments spring 2018.
  • [Sept'16] We have been awarded a 2.5M JTF grant Quantum Causal Structures, jointly with Vienna (Brukner), PI (Hardy, Spekkens), Pavia (D'Ariano, Perinotti), HK (Chiribella) and Queensland (Milburn).  It will start early in the new year.  Postdoc adds will follow...
  • [March'16] It's been very quiet here, firstly due to the fact that I relaunched my music career, and secondly because for the past three years my former student/postdoc Aleks Kissinger and I have been writing a book entitled Picturing Quantum Processes: A First Course in Quantum Theory and Diagrammatic Reasoning, now some 900 pages, and including thousands of pictures. It's almost done now and will appear before the end of the year. Meanwhile, lots of former students/postdocs of my group have been getting faculty positions elsewhere, including Ross Duncan, Chris Heunen, Aleks Kissinger, Mehrnoosh Sadrzadeh and Nikos Tzevelekos.  Also, 18 of my PhD students have meanwhile finished, with 20 now on the way to that goal (see below).
  • [Jul'11] I am retrospectively awarded the title of Professor of Quantum Foundations, Logics and Structures, starting October 2010.
  • [Jun'11] The interdepartmental project Quantum Nanoscience: Fundamental Physics, Emerging Structures, and Implications for our Ultimate Reality has now started. It involves Computer Science (PI myself), Materials (Experiments: PI Andrew Briggs, Theory: PI Simon Benjamin), Philosophy (PI Chris Timpson), and is jointly funded by the CQT in Singapore and JTF.


My previous affiliations are: the Free University of Brussels where I obtained my Doctorate in Theoretical Physics, Imperial College in London where I was a post-doc in the Theoretical Physics Group, and the Mathematics and Statistics Department of McGill University in Montreal where I was a post-doc in the Category Theory Group. I was also formally affiliated to the Department of Pure Mathematics and Mathematical Statistics of Cambridge University, on a research grant of the European TMR network Linear Logic in Computer Science. I have been offered a Long Term Visiting Scientists position at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, which I took up for a period of 3 months in 2009.  I held an EPSRC Advanced Research Fellow entitled The Structure of Quantum Information and its Ramifications for IT  Aug 2006 - Jul 2011, and University Lecturer of Quantum Computer Science Jun 2007 - Sept 2010, until I became Professor of Quantum Foundations, Logics and Structures, a title awarded retrospectively in July 2011 to take effect from October 2010.    I am a Governing Body Fellow of Wolfson College since Jun 2007.  I coordinated the EC FP6 STREP Foundational Structures in Quantum Information and Computation (QICS) - I also hold/held several EPSRC, ONR, JTF and FQXi grants.

Selected Publications

View AllManage publications


Completed Projects


Cole Comfort
Doctoral Student
Alexander Cowtan
(Cambridge Quantum Computing)
Fanny Duneau
Doctoral Student
Stefano Gogioso
Departmental Lecturer
James Hefford
Doctoral Student
Nicola Pinzani
Doctoral Student
Andre Ranchin
(Imperial College London)
Camilo Miguel Signorelli
Doctoral Student
William Simmons
Doctoral Student
Joshua Tan
Doctoral Student
Vincent Wang
Doctoral Student
Matthew Wilson
Doctoral Student
Yu Zhang
Doctoral Student

Past Students

Andrei Akhvlediani
Yaared Al-Mehairi
Josef Bolt
Gareth Charnock
Oscar Cunningham
Giovanni de Felice
Brendan Fong
Amar Hadzihasanovic
(RIMS, Kyoto University)
Nal Kalchbrenner
Hlér Kristjánsson
Ciaran Lee
Alex Merry
Hector Miller-Bakewell
Karl Paulsson
Robin Piedeleu
Irene Rizzo
Subhayan Roy Moulik
Maria Stasinou
Norihiro Yamada
Vladimir Zamdzhiev
Maaike Zwart

Past Researchers

Nadish de Silva
Fabrizio Romano Genovese
Edward Grefenstette
Shane Mansfield
Research Assistant
Sean Tull
Quanlong Wang