Imperial College London


Faculty of Natural SciencesDepartment of Physics

Professor of Quantum Physics



+44 (0)20 7594 7863t.rudolph Website




Blackett LaboratorySouth Kensington Campus






BibTex format

author = {Simmons, A and Wallman, J and Pashayan, H and Bartlett, S and Rudolph, T},
doi = {1367-2630/aa5f72},
journal = {New Journal of Physics},
title = {Contextuality under weak assumptions},
url = {},
volume = {19},
year = {2017}

RIS format (EndNote, RefMan)

AB - The presence of contextuality in quantum theory was first highlighted by Bell, Kochen and Specker, who discovered that for quantum systems of three or more dimensions, measurements could not be viewed as deterministically revealing pre-existing properties of the system. More precisely, no model can assign deterministic outcomes to the projectors of a quantum measurement in a way that depends only on the projector and not the context (the full set of projectors) in which it appeared, despite the fact that the Born rule probabilities associated with projectors are independent of the context. A more general, operational definition of contextuality introduced by Spekkens, which we will term "probabilistic contextuality", drops the assumption of determinism and allows for operations other than measurements to be considered contextual. Even two-dimensional quantum mechanics can be shown to be contextual under this generalised notion. Probabilistic noncontextuality represents the postulate that elements of an operational theory that cannot be distinguished from each other based on the statistics of arbitrarily many repeated experiments (they give rise to the same operational probabilities) are ontologically identical. In this paper, we introduce a framework that enables us to distinguish between different noncontextuality assumptions in terms of the relationships between the ontological representations of objects in the theory given a certain relation between their operational representations. This framework can be used to motivate and define a "possibilistic" analogue, encapsulating the idea that elements of an operational theory that cannot be unambiguously distinguished operationally can also not be unambiguously distinguished ontologically. We then prove that possibilistic noncontextuality is equivalent to an alternative notion of noncontextuality proposed by Hardy. Finally, we demonstrate that these weaker noncontextuality assumptions are sufficien
AU - Simmons,A
AU - Wallman,J
AU - Pashayan,H
AU - Bartlett,S
AU - Rudolph,T
DO - 1367-2630/aa5f72
PY - 2017///
SN - 1367-2630
TI - Contextuality under weak assumptions
T2 - New Journal of Physics
UR -
UR -
VL - 19
ER -