Bob Coecke
Bob Coecke

From Quantum in Pictures to practical Natural Language Processing, Music, and understandable AI

This talk requires no particular technical mathematics background, as I will talk entirely in terms of simple pictures. These are the pictures of my new book, "Quantum in Pictures" [1], which is aimed at the teenage enthusiast, and pretty much everyone else too - the book had a more technical predecessor [2].

One finds the same pictures in natural language, and much of the high-level reasoning that goes on in our brain can be shaped according to those pictures. One consequence of this is that natural language really wants to live on a quantum computer, which is something that we meanwhile realised [3], and we have also made music with quantum computers [4]. All our software developed for doing so, lambeq and Quanthoven respectively, is freely available from GitHub, open-source, and well-documented and well-supported. You can have a go yourself!

We show how these pictures also guide us towards a new form of natural language, one in which different languages all become the same. This in turns forms a new template for interpretable compositional AI.

[1] Bob Coecke and Stefano Gogioso (December 2022) Quantum in Pictures. Quantinuum Pubs.

[2] Bob Coecke and Aleks Kissinger (2017) Picturing Quantum Processes. Cambridge University Press.



Short biography

Bob Coecke is Chief Scientist at Quantinuum, heads the Oxford-based Quantum NLP & Compositional Intelligence team, and is Emeritus Professor at Wolfson College, Oxford University.

Previously he was a Professor of Quantum Foundations, Logics and Structures at the Department of Computer Science at Oxford University, where he was for 20 years, and co-founded, built, and led a multi-disciplinary research group of up to 50 people. He supervised 66 PhD students.

He pioneered Categorical Quantum Mechanics (now in AMS's MSC2020 classification), ZX-calculus, DisCoCat natural language meaning, mathematical foundations for resource theories, Quantum Natural Language Processing, and is co-author of "Picturing Quantum Processes", a book providing a fully diagrammatic treatment of quantum theory and its applications. He co-authored close to 200 research papers.

He's a founding father of the QPL (Quantum Physics and Logic) and ACT (Applied Category Theory) communities, of the diamond-open-access journal Compositionality, and Cambridge University Press' Applied Category Theory book series. He was the first person to have Quantum Foundations as part of his academic title.

His work has been headlined by various media outlets, including Forbes, New Scientist, PhysicsWorld, ComputerWeekly.


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