Compositional resource theories of coherence

Quantum 4, 319 (2020).

Quantum coherence is one of the most important resources in quantum information theory. Indeed, preventing the loss of coherence is one of the most important technical challenges obstructing the development of large-scale quantum computers. Recently, there has been substantial progress in developing mathematical resource theories of coherence, paving the way towards its quantification and control. To date however, these resource theories have only been mathematically formalised within the realms of convex-geometry, information theory, and linear algebra. This approach is limited in scope, and makes it difficult to generalise beyond resource theories of coherence for single system quantum states. In this paper we take a complementary perspective, showing that resource theories of coherence can instead be defined purely compositionally, that is, working with the mathematics of process theories, string diagrams and category theory. This new perspective offers several advantages: i) it unifies various existing approaches to the study of coherence, for example, subsuming both speakable and unspeakable coherence; ii) it provides a general treatment of the compositional multi-system setting; iii) it generalises immediately to the case of quantum channels, measurements, instruments, and beyond rather than just states; iv) it can easily be generalised to the setting where there are multiple distinct sources of decoherence; and, iv) it directly extends to arbitrary process theories, for example, generalised probabilistic theories and Spekkens toy model—providing the ability to operationally characterise coherence rather than relying on specific mathematical features of quantum theory for its description. More importantly, by providing a new, complementary, perspective on the resource of coherence, this work opens the door to the development of novel tools which would not be accessible from the linear algebraic mind set.

Source Quantum | The open journal for quantum science Compositional resource theories of coherence

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