Physics from Computer Science: a Position Statement
Samson Abramsky and Bob Coecke
In this statement we provide some examples of transdisciplinary journeys, from one field to another, and back. In particular, the quantum informatic endeavor is not just a matter of feeding physical theory into the general field of natural computation, but also one of using high-level methods developed in Computer Science to improve on the quantum physical formalism itself, and the understanding thereof. We highlight a seemingly contradictory phenomenon: passing to an abstract, categorical quantum informatic formalism leads directly to a simple and elegant graphical formulation of quantum theory itself, which for example makes the design of some important quantum informatic protocols completely transparent. It turns out that essentially all of the quantum informatic machinery can be recovered from this graphical calculus. But in turn, this graphical formalism provides a bridge between methods of logic and computer science, and some of the most exciting developments in the mathematics of the past two decades: namely those arising from the Jones polynomial invariant of knots and links, the Temperley-Lieb Algebra and related structures.