Bob Coecke

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Bob Coecke
Bob Coecke.jpg
Bob Coecke
Born (1968-07-23) 23 July 1968 (age 48)
Alma mater
Thesis Hidden Measurement Systems (1996)
Doctoral advisor
  • Diederik Emiel Aerts
  • Jean Reignier[2]
Doctoral students

Bob Coecke (born 1968) is a theoretical physicist, professor of Quantum Foundations, Logics and Structures at Oxford University, and a pioneer of categorical quantum mechanics.

Education and career[edit]

Coecke obtained his Doctorate in Sciences at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel in 1996 [2] and performed postdoctorate work in the Theoretical Physics Group of Imperial College, London and in the Category Theory Group of the Mathematics and Statistics Department at McGill University in Montreal, and was formally affiliated with the Department of Pure Mathematics and Mathematical Statistics of Cambridge University.[3] He was an EPSRC Advanced Research Fellow at the Department of Computer Science, University of Oxford, where he became Lecturer in Quantum Computer Science in 2007, and jointly with Samson Abramsky leads the Quantum Group. In 2009, he worked as visiting scientist at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics.[3] In July 2011, he was nominated professor of Quantum Foundations, Logics and Structures at Oxford University, with retroactive effect as of October 2010. He is Governing Body Fellow of Wolfson College, Oxford since 2007.[3][4][5]


Coecke's research focuses on the foundations of physics, more particularly category theory and logic, and more recently, diagrammatic reasoning, with application to quantum informatics and quantum gravity.[6] He has pioneered categorical quantum mechanics together with Samson Abramsky, and spearheaded the development of a diagrammatic quantum formalism based on Penrose graphical notation on which he wrote a textbook entitled Picturing Quantum Processes, with Aleks Kissinger. He also pioneered the categorical distributional natural language meaning, with Stephen Clark and Mehrnoosh Sadrzadeh.

He has organised events at the interface of quantum foundations, logic and category theory;[7] in particular, he has participated in committees organising international workshops on quantum physics, logic, and quantum programming.[8][9][10]

Media reception[edit]

The work of Coecke and his co-workers on the application of categorical quantum mechanics to natural language processing in computational linguistics was featured in New Scientist in December 2010.[11]


Books (as editor)
  • Bob Coecke (ed.): New Structures for Physics, Lecure Notes in Physics 813, Springer, 2011, ISBN 978-3642128202
  • Bob Coecke, David Moore, Alexander Wilce (eds.): Current Research in Operational Quantum Logic: Algebras, Categories, Languages, Fundamental Theories of Physics, Kluwer Academic, 2010, ISBN 978-9048154371
Articles (selection)
  • Bob Coecke, Raymond Lal: Time-asymmetry of probabilities versus relativistic causal structure: an arrow of time, arXiv:1108.1988 (submitted 9 August 2011, version of 6 September 2011)
  • Bob Coecke, Raymond Lal: Causal categories: relativistically interacting processes, arXiv:1107.6019 (submitted 29 July 2011)
  • Bob Coecke‚ Quanlong Wang‚ Baoshan Wang‚ Yongjun Wang, Qiye Zhang: Graphical Calculus for Quantum Key Distribution, Electronic Notes in Theoretical Computer Science, vol. 270, no. 2, pp. 231−249, 2011
  • Bob Coecke‚ Bill Edwards, Robert W. Spekkens: Phase groups and the origin of non−locality for qubits, Electronic Notes in Theoretical Computer Science, vol. 270, no. 2, pp. 15−36, 2011, arXiv:1003.5005 (submitted 25 March 2010)
  • Samson Abramsky, Bob Coecke: Abstract physical traces, arXiv:0910.3144 (submitted 16 October 2009)
  • Bob Coecke: Quantum Picturalism, arXiv:0908.1787 (submitted 13 August 2009)
  • Bob Coecke, Ross Duncan: Interacting quantum observables, Automata, Languages and Programming, pp. 298–310, 2008
  • B Coecke, D Pavlovic, J Vicary: A new description of orthogonal bases, arXiv:0810.0812 (submitted 5 October 2008)
  • A Baltag, B Coecke, M Sadrzadeh: Epistemic actions as resources, Journal of Logic and Computation 17 (3), pp. 555–585, 2007
  • B Coecke, D Pavlovic: Quantum measurements without sums, arXiv:quant-ph/0608035 (submitted 3 August 2006, version of 7 August 2008)
  • Bob Coecke: Introducing categories to the practicing physicist, in: Giandomenico Sica (ed.): What is category theory, Polimetrica, 45–74, 2006, ISBN 978-8876990311 / ISBN 88-7699-031-3
  • B Coecke: Kindergarten quantum mechanics, arXiv:quant-ph/0510032 (submitted 4 October 2005)
  • Samson Abramsky, Bob Coecke: A categorical semantics of quantum protocols, Proceedings of the 19th Annual IEEE Symposium on Logic in Computer Science, 2004, pp. 415–425
  • B Coecke: The logic of entanglement, arXiv:quant-ph/0402014 (submitted 2 February 2004, version of 2 March 2004)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Bob Coecke's publications indexed by Google Scholar
  2. ^ a b c Bob Coecke at the Mathematics Genealogy Project
  3. ^ a b c Bob Coecke, Department of Computer Science, University of Oxford (downloaded 1 April 2012)
  4. ^ Faculty Computing Laboratory at the University of Oxford (downloaded 1 April 2012)
  5. ^ College Officers, Governing Body Fellows & Visiting Scholars, Wolfson College, University of Oxford (downloaded 1 April 2012)
  6. ^ Bob Coecke, LinkedIn (downloaded 1 April 2012)
  7. ^ Personal home page at Oxford University (downloaded 1 April 2012)
  8. ^ 5th International Workshop on Quantum Physics and Logic (downloaded 1 April 2012)
  9. ^ 4th International Workshop on Quantum Programming Languages (downloaded 1 April 2012)
  10. ^ 3rd International Workshop on Quantum Programming Languages (downloaded 1 April 2012)
  11. ^ Jacob Aron: Quantum links let computers understand language, New Scientist, 11 December 2010, p. 10–11 (abstract)

External links[edit]