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Title: Possibilistic (and other) notions of contextuality
Author: Simmons, Andrew William
ISNI:       0000 0004 7963 7599
Awarding Body: Imperial College London
Current Institution: Imperial College London
Date of Award: 2019
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Since Bell, Kochen and Specker formulated the first notions of contextuality, a number of frameworks have been created to help make philosophical and mathematical sense of the concept. Two of the most common are the Equivalence-based approach due to Spekkens, and the Sheaf-theoretic framework of Abramsky and Brandenburger. Each of these can support a hierarchy of strengths of contextuality, which can include possibilistic concepts. This thesis will explore the differences between the two approaches, and explore what can be demonstrated by using weaker notions of noncontextuality. Notions of noncontextuality are important for proving no-go theorems which highlight that many properties that are true of classical mechanics fail to be compatible with quantum predictions. Often, the notions of noncontextuality used are very strong assumptions, and even weaker flavours of noncontextuality can be used to draw the same, or similar conclusions. An important class of such notions are, possibilistic assumptions that only care about whether or not events are possible or impossible, rather than the exact Born rule probabilities that are applied to events. Even these weaker notions are often impossible to resolve with the logical structure and predictions of quantum theory. Contextuality has been demonstrated to be a resource for many quantum computational operations, and the contextual fraction has been shown to be an important resource. We introduce a metric that can differentiate between different quantum mechanical scenarios with contextual fraction 1, and demonstrate analogues of CHSH and Tsirelson bounds for this quantity. We also investigate the computational complexity of calculating the values of some metrics for nonlocality and contextuality, completing the classification of possibilistic nonlocality scenarios, as well as other metrics of nonlocality analogous to our metric of maximal contextuality.
Supervisor: Rudolph, Terry Sponsor: Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral