Quantum Bayesian Networks

January 16, 2012

Bayesian Networks + Information Theory = Papa-the-Camel’s Book

Filed under: Uncategorized — rrtucci @ 5:59 pm

My religious epiphany for the week:
For those of you who, like me, are fans of both

  • Bayesian Networks (a divine theory, also known by many other names, just like God/Yahweh/Allah etc. is) and

  • Shannon Information Theory (SIT) (another divinely inspired theory),

here is an excellent book that merges these two fascinating topics. A preliminary draft of the book can be downloaded from ArXiv.

Lecture Notes on Network Information Theory
Abbas El Gamal, Young-Han Kim

(I am told by my impeccable internet sources that “El Gamal” means “The Camel” in Arabic. “Abbas” means “papa”. It does remind me of capacity. Information Capacity Regions is a fascinating subject which the El Gamal/Kim book often discusses.)

The arxiv version of the book is quite adequate for many purposes, but a more polished version has recently been published (in fact, published just today! No stale news in this blog!) by Cambridge University Press. 714 pages of goodness. Amazon link to book

One of my lifelong goals is to build a quantum version of B.Nets and SIT, and to apply it to physics. I’m of course not the only one, or even the first one, to arrive at this idea. I see that Mark Wilde, a rising luminary of quantum information theory, already cites the El Gamal/Kim book in several of his arxiv papers. Good find Mark!

Abbas El Gamal is a professor at Stanford University. Stanford is one of the CHIMPS of quantum computing, meaning they haven’t done much in that area. On the other hand, Stanford is the home of Cover and Thomas, the authors of one of the canonical books on SIT, and also the home of Daphne Koller, coauthor of one of the canonical books about B nets. I think eventually Stanford will learn how to add simple things like
quantum + B.Nets + SIT + physics.

By the way, Stanford is also home of the indescribable Lenny Susskind, String Theorist extraordinaire, who, if my prediction for 2012 is right, will soon be singing Q-Comp, Q-Comp!. Once already, a few years ago, Lenny invited Scott Aaronson to speak at one of his String Theory shindigs, so Lenny has already shown some potential for conversion to our QC faith.


  1. When you classify as a quantum computing CHIMP aren’t you overlooking Mabuchilab?

    Comment by Henning Dekant — February 17, 2012 @ 5:36 am

  2. Mabuchi has done work that is only tangentially related to building a scalable QC. He doesn’t seem to be a wholehearted participant in The Great Race.

    Comment by rrtucci — February 17, 2012 @ 1:30 pm

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