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Quantum Contextuality: At The Borders of Paradox

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Contextuality is a key feature of quantum mechanics that provides an important new resource for quantum information and computation. Contextuality can be understood as arising where we have a family of data which is locally consistent, but globally inconsistent. From this point of view, it can be seen as a pervasive phenomenon, arising not only in quantum mechanics, but in many more familiar areas, including databases. In general, the data held about us in large databases is not globally consistent! There are also remarkably direct connections to logical paradoxes. One can say that contextual phenomena, which we must accept as key features of our picture of physical reality, lie at the very borders of paradox, but do not cross those borders. Professor Samson Abramsky shall give an introduction to these ideas, and show how they can be understood in striking visual terms – the topology of contextuality.

This talk is part of the Stokes Society, Pembroke College series.

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