Structures at the Interface of Physics and Computer Science

Lead Research Organisation: University of Oxford
Department Name: Computer Science


This proposal aims to fund a network to support an emerging research community working at the interface of Computer Science, Physics and Mathematics. The common theme is the use of high-level mathematical structures such as Category Theory. These structures have already proved important in various specific areas within these disciplines. It has recently been becoming clear that they can be used in a unified and very powerful way, and that the same structures occur across these disciplines. This has led to a lot of exciting research, which has been bringing established researchers together, and attracting students and young researchers into the area.

The aim of the network is to foster and support these activities, and to nurture the development of an emerging research community, centred in the UK, which is at the forefront of these exciting developments.

We will do this by supporting regular meetings, providing travel money for young researchers to attend conferences and make research visits, and managing a strong web presence which can act as a hub for the community. This will help to make the UK attractive to the best researchers in the world on the topic of the network, and will enable it to take a leading role in future developments.

Planned Impact

The network will provide crucial support for the career development of young researchers in this emerging interdisciplinary area.

It will improve the standing and visibility of the UK research community in the global knowledge economy, for work at the interface of physics and computer science.

There will also be a significant potential economic impact. By far the majority of activities supported by network funding will take place in the UK, and these events will attract participants from overseas who in many cases will bring their own funding with them. Also, as the reputation of the UK for work in this field increases, overseas academics with personal fellowships will be more likely to seek positions here. This will encourage inward investment, and help to keep the UK as a major centre of skilled scientific manpower at the forefront of current developments.


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Abramsky S (2012) The Cohomology of Non-Locality and Contextuality in Electronic Proceedings in Theoretical Computer Science

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Abramsky S (2012) Relational Databases and Bell's Theorem in CoRR

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Abramsky S (2012) Logical Bell Inequalities in CoRR

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Abramsky S (2015) Contextuality, Cohomology and Paradox in 24th EACSL Annual Conference on Computer Science Logic, CSL 2015, September 7-10, 2015, Berlin, Germany

Description We have developed new high-level formalisms for quantum information, greatly developed the research community in this field through the activities of the network, including supporting the training of many doctoral students, and developed educational materials now being used in successful courses.
Exploitation Route As quantum information is turned into quantum technology, there will be an increasing need for the accessible, high-level presentations of quantum information we have developed, for end-users and those concerned with applications.
Sectors Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software)