2016/17 Quantum Causal Structures Postdoctoral Fellowship


Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics invites applications for two postdoctoral fellowships in quantum foundations on the topic of "Quantum Causal Structures”.  These positions are for a period of three years each. Although the starting dates for the positions are flexible, the first position would ideally start on  Dec. 1st, 2016, while the second position would ideally start next year, on Sept. 1, 2017.  

The researcher will work with Perimeter Institute faculty members Robert Spekkens and Lucien Hardy.  This position is part of a project funded by the John Templeton Foundation involving an international consortium of groups pursuing research on Quantum Causal Structures.  The consortium includes the Institute for Quantum Optics and Quantum Information in Vienna, the University of Oxford, the University of Pavia, Hong Kong University, the University of Queensland, and the University of Western Ontario.  The position will include opportunities to collaborate with other members of the consortium.

Questions that the project seeks to address include:  Can one develop intriniscally quantum causal models that support inferences about arbitrary interventions and observations, and do such models provide satisfactory causal explanations of Bell inequality violations?  Can one develop general quantum causal discovery algorithms, and to what extent do they offer advantages over their classical counterparts?  Can one develop classical and quantum models in which causal structure is not predefined in order to formulate physical theories without a time-evolving state?  Does quantum theory imply the possibility of indefinite causal structure?  Publications representative of the topic of the project include: 

· Christopher J. Wood and Robert W. Spekkens, "The lesson of causal discovery algorithms for quantum correlations: Causal explanations of Bell-inequality violations require fine-tuning”, New J. Phys. 17, 033002 (2015)

· M. S. Leifer and Robert W. Spekkens, "Towards a formulation of quantum theory as a causally neutral theory of Bayesian inference”, Phys. Rev. A 88, 052130 (2013)

· Katja Ried, Megan Agnew, Lydia Vermeyden, Dominik Janzing, Robert W. Spekkens, Kevin J. Resch, "A quantum advantage for inferring causal structure”, Nature Physics 11, 414 (2015)

· John-Mark A. Allen, Jonathan Barrett, Dominic C. Horsman, Ciaran M. Lee, and Robert W. Spekkens, "Quantum common causes and quantum causal models”, arXiv:1609.09487

· Lucien Hardy, "Towards Quantum Gravity: A Framework for Probabilistic Theories with Non-Fixed Causal Structure“, J. Phys. A 40, 3081 (2007)

· Lucien Hardy, "Operational General Relativity: Possibilistic, Probabilistic, and Quantum”,arXiv:1608.06940

Perimeter Institute offers a dynamic, multi-disciplinary environment and comprehensive support including a generous research and travel fund, opportunities to invite visiting collaborators, and  help in organizing workshops and conferences. A unique mentoring system gives early-career scientists the feedback and support they need to flourish as independent researchers.

The Institute offers an exceptional research environment and is currently staffed with 42 full-time and part-time faculty members, 50 Distinguished Visiting Research Chairs, 59 Postdoctoral Researchers, 51 Graduate Students, and 28 exceptional master’s-level students participating in Perimeter Scholars International. Perimeter also hosts hundreds of visitors and conference participants throughout the academic year.

We welcome candidates to apply for the first position by October 20th, 2016 and for the second position by November 15th, 2016, however applications will be considered until the positions are filled.

Applicants must submit: curriculum vitae, a statement of research interests, a list of publications, and arrange for at least three letters of reference to be sent on their behalf. Applications (including recommendation letters) must be submitted through Perimeter Institute's online application form.

All qualified candidates are encouraged to apply, however Canadian citizens and permanent residents will be given priority.


Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics is an independent, non-profit, scientific research organization working to advance our understanding of physical laws and develop new ideas about the very essence of space, time, matter, and information. Located in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, Perimeter also provides a wide array of research training and educational outreach activities to nurture scientific talent and share the importance of discovery and innovation among students, teachers, and the general public. In partnership with the Governments of Ontario and Canada, Perimeter is a successful example of public-private collaboration in scientific research, training, and outreach.

All qualified candidates are encouraged to apply; however Canadian citizens and Permanent Residents will be given priority. Perimeter Institute encourages applications from all qualified individuals, including women, members of visible minorities, native peoples and persons with disabilities. Applicants who require special accommodation in order to complete their application/interview are encouraged to contact peopleandculture@perimeterinstitute.ca for assistance.