Geometry of Interaction


Type theory

natural deduction metalanguage, practical foundations

  1. type formation rule
  2. term introduction rule
  3. term elimination rule
  4. computation rule

type theory (dependent, intensional, observational type theory, homotopy type theory)

syntax object language

computational trinitarianism = propositions as types +programs as proofs +relation type theory/category theory

logiccategory theorytype theory
trueterminal object/(-2)-truncated objecth-level 0-type/unit type
falseinitial objectempty type
proposition(-1)-truncated objecth-proposition, mere proposition
proofgeneralized elementprogram
cut rulecomposition of classifying morphisms / pullback of display mapssubstitution
cut elimination for implicationcounit for hom-tensor adjunctionbeta reduction
introduction rule for implicationunit for hom-tensor adjunctioneta conversion
logical conjunctionproductproduct type
disjunctioncoproduct ((-1)-truncation of)sum type (bracket type of)
implicationinternal homfunction type
negationinternal hom into initial objectfunction type into empty type
universal quantificationdependent productdependent product type
existential quantificationdependent sum ((-1)-truncation of)dependent sum type (bracket type of)
equivalencepath space objectidentity type
equivalence classquotientquotient type
inductioncolimitinductive type, W-type, M-type
higher inductionhigher colimithigher inductive type
completely presented setdiscrete object/0-truncated objecth-level 2-type/preset/h-set
setinternal 0-groupoidBishop set/setoid
universeobject classifiertype of types
modalityclosure operator, (idemponent) monadmodal type theory, monad (in computer science)
linear logic(symmetric, closed) monoidal categorylinear type theory/quantum computation
proof netstring diagramquantum circuit
(absence of) contraction rule(absence of) diagonalno-cloning theorem
synthetic mathematicsdomain specific embedded programming language

homotopy levels


Monoidal categories


physics, mathematical physics, philosophy of physics

Surveys, textbooks and lecture notes

theory (physics), model (physics)

experiment, measurement, computable physics



What has been called Geometry of Interaction (Girard 89) is a kind of semantics for linear logic/linear type theory that is however different in method from the usual categorical semantics in monoidal categories. Instead of interpreting a proof of a linear entailment ABA\vdash B as a morphism between objects AA and BB in a monoidal category as in categorical semantics, the Geometry of Interaction interprets it as an endomorphism on the object ABA\multimap B. This has been named operational semantics to contrast with the traditional denotational semantics.

That also the “operational semantics” of GoI has an interpretation in category theory, though, namely in compact closed categories induced from traced monoidal categories was first suggested in (Joyal-Street-Verity 96) and then developed in (Haghverdi 00, Abramsky-Haghverdi-Scott 02, Haghverdi-Scott 05). See (Shirahata) for a good review.


Relation to superoperators and quantum operations

We discuss a relation of the GoI to superoperators/quantum operations in quantum physics.

According to (Abramsky-Haghverdi-Scott 02, remark 5.8, Haghverdi 00b, section 6) all the standard and intended interpretations of the GoI take place in those compact closed categories Int(𝒞)Int(\mathcal{C}) free on a traced monoidal category 𝒞\mathcal{C} (as discussed there). In these references therefore the notation Int()Int(-) from (Joyal-Street-Verity 96) is changed to 𝒢()\mathcal{G}(-), for “Geometry of Interaction construction” (see Abramsky-Haghverdi-Scott 02, p. 11).

The objects of Int(𝒞)Int(\mathcal{C}) are pairs (A +,A )(A^+, A^-) of objects of 𝒞\mathcal{C}, a morphism (A +,A )(B +,B )(A^+ , A^-) \to (B^+ , B^-) in Int(𝒞)Int(\mathcal{C}) is given by a morphism in 𝒞\mathcal{C} of the form

A +B A B + \array{ A^+\otimes B^- \\ \downarrow \\ A^- \otimes B^+ }

in 𝒞\mathcal{C}, and composition of two such morphisms (A +,A )(B +,B )(A^+ , A^-) \to (B^+ , B^-) and (B +,B )(C +,C )(B^+ , B^-) \to (C^+ , C^-) is given by tracing out B +B^+ and B B^- in the evident way.

We observe now that subcategories of such Int(𝒞)Int(\mathcal{C}) are famous in quantum physics as “categories of superoperators” or “categories of quantum operations”, formalizing linear maps on spaces of operators on a Hilbert spaces that takes density matrices (hence mixed quantum states) to density matrices (“completely positive maps”).

First notice that if the traced monoidal category structure on 𝒞\mathcal{C} happens to be that induced by a compact closed category structure, then by compact closure the morphisms (A +,A )(B +,B )(A^+ , A^-) \to (B^+ , B^-) in Int(𝒞)Int(\mathcal{C}) above are equivalently morphisms in 𝒞\mathcal{C} of the form

(A ) *A +(B ) *B + (A^-)^\ast \otimes A^+ \longrightarrow (B^-)^\ast \otimes B^+

and if moreover one concentrates on the case where AA A +A \coloneqq A^- \simeq A^+ etc. then these are morphisms of the form

End(A)End(B). End(A) \longrightarrow End(B) \,.

Under this identification the somewhat curious-looking composition in Int(𝒞)Int(\mathcal{C}) given by tracing in 𝒞\mathcal{C} becomes just plain composition in 𝒞\mathcal{C}.

Subcategories (non-full) of Int(𝒞)Int(\mathcal{C}) consisting of morphisms of this form in some ambient 𝒞\mathcal{C} have been considered in (Selinger 05), there denoted CMP(𝒞)CMP(\mathcal{C}), and shown to formalize the concept of quantum operations in quantum physics. For a quick review of Selinger’s construction see for instance (Coecke-Heunen 11, section 2). Comments related to the relation between GoI and such constructions appear in (Abramsky-Coecke 02).

Now the CPM()CPM(-) construction requires and assumes that 𝒞\mathcal{C} has all dual objects (which in the standard model means to restrict to Hilbert spaces of quantum states with are of finite dimension). To generalize away from this requirement a more general definition of quantum operations in 𝒞\mathcal{C} is given in (Coecke-Heunen 11, def. 1), there denoted CP(𝒞)CP(\mathcal{C}). Direct inspection shows that CP(𝒞)CP(\mathcal{C}) is still a (non-full) subcategory of Int(𝒞)Int(\mathcal{C}).


The original references are

  • Jean-Yves Girard. Towards a geometry of interaction. In Categories in Computer Science and Logic, pages 69 – 108, Providence, 1989. American Mathematical Society. Proceedings of Symposia in Pure Mathematics n92.
  • Jean-Yves Girard. Geometry of interaction I: interpretation of system F. In Ferro, Bonotto, Valentini, and Zanardo, editors, Logic Colloquium ’88, pages 221 – 260, Amsterdam, 1989. North-Holland.

  • Jean-Yves Girard. Geometry of interaction II : deadlock-free algorithms. In Martin-Löf and Mints, editors, Proceedings of COLOG 88, volume 417 of Lecture Notes in Computer Science, pages 76 – 93, Heidelberg, 1990. Springer-Verlag.

  • Jean-Yves Girard. Geometry of interaction III : accommodating the additives. In Girard, Lafont, and Regnier, editors, Advances in Linear Logic, pages 329 – 389, Cambridge, 1995. Cambridge University Press.

  • Jean-Yves Girard. Geometry of interaction IV : the feedback equation. In Stoltenberg-Hansen and Väänänen, editors, Logic Colloquium ’03, pages 76 – 117. Association for Symbolic Logic, 2006.

  • Jean-Yves Girard. Geometry of interaction V : logic in the hyperfinite factor, in memoriam Claire Delaleu (1991-2009). Fully revised version (October 2009). (pdf)

  • Jean-Yves Girard. Geometry of Interaction VI: a blueprint for Transcendental Syntax, January 2013, revised August 28th 2013. (pdf)

Reviews include

  • Samson Abramsky, E. Haghverdi and P. Scott, ”Geometry of Interaction and linear combinatory algebra,” Mathematical Structures in Computer Science (2002), vol. 12, pp. 625-665. (ps)

  • Samson Abramsky and R. Jagadeesan, ”New Foundations for the Geometry of Interaction,” Proceedings 7th Annual IEEE Symp. on Logic in Computer Science, LICS’92, Santa Cruz, CA, USA, 22–25 June 1992. (pdf)

  • Harry G. Mairson, “From Hilbert Spaces to Dilbert Spaces: Context Semantics Made Simple”, Proceedings of FST TCS 2002. (pdf)

  • Linear Logic Wiki, Geometry of Interaction

  • Daniel Murfet, section 5 of Logic and linear algebra: an introduction (arXiv:1407.2650)

The operational categorical semantics in traced monoidal categories is due to

  • Esfandir Haghverdi, A Categorical Approach to Linear Logic, Geometry of Proofs and Full Completeness, PhD Thesis, University of Ottawa, Canada 2000.
  • Esfandir Haghverdi, Unique Decomposition Categories, Geometry of Interaction, and Combinatory Logic, Math. Struc. in Comp. Sci., 10, pp. 205-231.

Discussion of quantum operations/completely positive maps mentioned above is in

  • Peter Selinger, Dagger-compact closed categories and completely positive maps, Electronic Notes in Theoretical Computer Science (special issue: Proceedings of the 3rd International Workshop on Quantum Programming Languages). 2005 (pdf, ps)

Revised on February 6, 2015 08:47:43 by Noam Zeilberger (