How to Characterize the Quantum Correlations of a Generic Causal Structure

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The ideas of no-signalling, nonlocality, Bell inequalities, and quantum correlations can all be understood as implications of a presumed causal structure. In particular, the causal structure of the Bell scenario implies the Bell inequalities whenever the shared resource is presumed to act like a classical hidden random variable. If the shared resource in the scenario is a quantum system, however, then the quantum causal structure can give rise to a larger set of correlations, including probability distributions which violate Bell inequalities up to Tsirelson's bound. It is hard to generically distinguish between the classical and quantum correlations, though, because the standard method for computing Bell inequalities cannot be generalized to general causal scenarios. We therefore introduce a method (the "Inflation DAG" technique) to heuristically constrain the set of correlations compatible with a given classical causal structure, and we demonstrate how it may be used to derive explicit inequalities in terms of probabilities. We also discuss deriving physics-independent constraints, i.e. non-trivial inequalities which are nevertheless satisfied even by all quantum correlations, thereby quantifying some absolute limits as to what the universe allows.

[Unpublished results of E.W., Rob Spekkens, Tobias Fritz]