Mathematically, completely positive maps on C*-algebras generalize positive linear functionals in that every positive linear functional on a C*-algebra $A$ is a completely positive map of $A$ into $\mathbb{C}$. Furthermore, we have the Stinespring construction as a powerful generalization of the GNS construction.

Certainly, the relationship between completely positive maps and positive linear functionals can only go so far. I am curious about what physics has to say about this analogy/generalization. It seems that completely positive maps should serve as generalized states of a quantum system, but I've mostly seen cp maps arise in the discussion of quantum channels and quantum operations. I'd like to know precisely in what sense a completely positive map can be viewed as a generalized physical state.

**Question:** What is a completely positive map, physically? Particularly, in what precise sense can a completely positive map be regarded as a generalized (physical) state?

If there are nice survey papers discussing the above relationship, such a reference may serve as an answer to my question.

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