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Symmetric monoidal theories (SMTs) generalise algebraic theories in a way that make them suitable to express resource-sensitive systems, in which variables cannot be copied or discarded at will. In SMTs, traditional tree-like terms are replaced by string diagrams, topological entities that can be intuitively thought of as diagrams of wires and boxes. Recently, string diagrams have become increasingly popular as a graphical syntax to reason about computational models across diverse fields, including programming language semantics, circuit theory, quantum mechanics, linguistics, and control theory. In applications, it is often convenient to implement the equations appearing in SMTs as rewriting rules. This poses the challenge of extending the traditional theory of term rewriting, which has been developed for algebraic theories, to string diagrams. In this paper, we develop a mathematical theory of string diagram rewriting for SMTs. Our approach exploits the correspondence between string diagram rewriting and double pushout (DPO) rewriting of certain graphs, introduced in the first paper of this series. Such a correspondence is only sound when the SMT includes a Frobenius algebra structure. In the present work, we show how an analogous correspondence may be established for arbitrary SMTs, once an appropriate notion of DPO rewriting (which we call convex) is identified. As proof of concept, we use our approach to show termination of two SMTs of interest: Frobenius semi-algebras and bialgebras.
In this paper, we address the problem of proving confluence for string diagram rewriting, which was previously shown to be characterised combinatorially as double-pushout rewriting with interfaces (DPOI) on (labelled) hypergraphs. For standard DPO rewriting without interfaces, confluence for terminating rewriting systems is, in general, undecidable. Nevertheless, we show here that confluence for DPOI, and hence string diagram rewriting, is decidable. We apply this result to give effective procedures for deciding local confluence of symmetric monoidal theories with and without Frobenius structure by critical pair analysis. For the latter, we introduce the new notion of path joinability for critical pairs, which enables finitely many joins of a critical pair to be lifted to an arbitrary context in spite of the strong non-local constraints placed on rewriting in a generic symmetric monoidal theory.
Extracting causal relationships from observed correlations is a growing area in probabilistic reasoning, originating with the seminal work of Pearl and others from the early 1990s. This paper develops a new, categorically oriented view based on a clear distinction between syntax (string diagrams) and semantics (stochastic matrices), connected via interpretations as structure-preserving functors. A key notion in the identification of causal effects is that of an intervention, whereby a variable is forcefully set to a particular value independent of any prior propensities. We represent the effect of such an intervention as an endo-functor which performs ‘string diagram surgery’ within the syntactic category of string diagrams. This diagram surgery in turn yields a new, interventional distribution via the interpretation functor. While in general there is no way to compute interventional distributions purely from observed data, we show that this is possible in certain special cases using a calculational tool called comb disintegration. We demonstrate the use of this technique on two well-known toy examples: one where we predict the causal effect of smoking on cancer in the presence of a confounding common cause and where we show that this technique provides simple sufficient conditions for computing interventions which apply to a wide variety of situations considered in the causal inference literature; the other one is an illustration of counterfactual reasoning where the same interventional techniques are used, but now in a ‘twinned’ set-up, with two version of the world – one factual and one counterfactual – joined together via exogenous variables that capture the uncertainties at hand.
This chapter offers an accessible introduction to the channel-based approach to Bayesian probability theory. This framework rests on algebraic and logical foundations, inspired by the methodologies of programming language semantics. It offers a uniform, structured and expressive language for describing Bayesian phenomena in terms of familiar programming concepts, like channel, predicate transformation and state transformation. The introduction also covers inference in Bayesian networks, which will be modelled by a suitable calculus of string diagrams.
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