Physical Review A 85:062114-1 - 062114-11 (2012)

Bell inequalities play a central role in the study of quantum nonlocality and entanglement, with many applications in quantum information. Despite the huge literature on Bell inequalities, it is not easy to find a clear conceptual answer to what a Bell inequality is, or a clear guiding principle as to how they may be derived. In this paper, we introduce a notion of logical Bell inequality which can be used to systematically derive testable inequalities for a very wide variety of situations. There is a single clear conceptual principle, based on purely logical consistency conditions, which underlies our notion of logical Bell inequalities. We show that in a precise sense, all Bell inequalities can be taken to be of this form. Our approach is very general. It applies directly to any family of sets of commuting observables. Thus it covers not only the n-partite scenarios to which Bell inequalities are standardly applied, but also Kochen-Specker configurations, and many other examples. There is much current work on experimental tests for contextuality. Our approach directly yields, in a systematic fashion, testable inequalities for a very general notion of contextuality. There has been much work on obtaining proofs of Bell's theorem “without inequalities” or “without probabilities.” These proofs are seen as being in a sense more definitive and logically robust than the inequality-based proofs. On the hand, they lack the fault-tolerant aspect of inequalities. Our approach reconciles these aspects, and in fact shows how the logical robustness can be converted into systematic, general derivations of inequalities with provable violations. Moreover, the kind of strong non-locality or contextuality exhibited by the GHZ argument or by Kochen-Specker configurations can be shown to lead to maximal violations of the corresponding logical Bell inequalities. Thus the qualitative and the quantitative aspects are combined harmoniously.
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