Universal Properties in Quantum Theory


We argue that notions in quantum theory should have universal properties in the sense of category theory. We consider the completely positive trace preserving (CPTP) maps, the basic notion of quantum channel. Physically, quantum channels are derived from pure quantum theory by allowing discarding. We phrase this in category theoretic terms by showing that the category of CPTP maps is the universal monoidal category with a terminal unit that has a functor from the category of isometries. In other words, the CPTP maps are the affine reflection of the isometries.

Proceedings of the 15th International Conference on Quantum Physics and Logic (QPL), Halifax, Canada, June 3–7, 2018