This article has been accepted to Expositiones Mathematicae.


In this exposition of quantum permutation groups, an alternative to the ‘Gelfand picture’ of compact quantum groups is proposed. This point of view is inspired by algebraic quantum mechanics and interprets the states of an algebra of continuous functions on a quantum permutation group as quantum permutations. This interpretation allows talk of an element of a quantum permutation group, and allows a clear understanding of the difference between deterministic, random, and quantum permutations. The interpretation is illustrated by various quantum permutation group phenomena.

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