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A Mathematical Framework for Causally Structured Dilations and its Relation to Quantum Self-Testing

The motivation for this thesis was to recast quantum self-testing [MY98,MY04] in operational terms. The result is a category-theoretic framework for discussing the following general question: How do different implementations of the same input-output process compare to each other? In the proposed framework, an input-output process is modelled by a causally structured channel in some fixed theory, and its implementations are modelled by causally structured dilations formalising hidden side-computations. These dilations compare through a pre-order formalising relative strength of side-computations. Chapter 1 reviews a mathematical model for physical theories as semicartesian symmetric monoidal categories. Many concrete examples are discussed, in particular quantum and classical information theory. The key feature is that the model facilitates the notion of dilations. Chapter 2 is devoted to the study of dilations. It introduces a handful of simple yet potent axioms about dilations, one of which (resembling the Purification Postulate [CDP10]) entails a duality theorem encompassing a large number of classic no-go results for quantum theory. Chapter 3 considers metric structure on physical theories, introducing in particular a new metric for quantum channels, the purified diamond distance, which generalises the purified distance [TCR10,Tom12] and relates to the Bures distance [KSW08a]. Chapter 4 presents a category-theoretic formalism for causality in terms of '(constructible) causal channels' and 'contractions'. It simplifies aspects of the formalisms [CDP09,KU17] and relates to traces in monoidal categories [JSV96]. The formalism allows for the definition of 'causal dilations' and the establishment of a non-trivial theory of such dilations. Chapter 5 realises quantum self-testing from the perspective of chapter 4, thus pointing towards the first known operational foundation for self-testing.


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