I’ve been traveling a lot for work, and I’m finally catching up. Last May I was in Melbourne, visiting my old friend and collaborator Kavan Modi at Monash University. We worked more on Operational Characterization of Non-Markovian Processes, a project we have been working on for some time now. As an aside, discussing random ideas, we got some interested results on an operational definition of detailed balance. Once they are more mature, I’ll post more here. Him and his group kept me very busy, I gave 3 different talks to different audiences.
I really enjoyed Melbourne, it reminded me of San Francisco, but friendlier and more laid back. Coffee was incredible! Food also was very good, I particularly loved the big Melbourne breakfasts, like avocado toast.
We went to the fantastic Victoria Market to purchase some exotic meats.
I really enjoy the Wallaby. Kangaroo was good in both cuts, much better quality than other cheap Kangaroo cuts I’ve had before.
Melbourne is very vibrant and full of parks. One night we some possums at the park.
We also saw a fox, but we couldn’t capture it on camera. Later that night we saw a very interesting person in the tram.
I honestly don’t know if this was someone in need of help, or if it was some clever modern theatrical performance.
This year it will be the 90th anniversary of the legendary Solvay Conference where all the big names in Quantum Mechanics congregated. Here is a nice video documenting it.
Weirdest paper I’ve seen on quant-ph in a long time:
This paper proposes that cognitive humor can be modeled using the mathematical framework of quantum theory. We begin with brief overviews of both research on humor, and the generalized quantum framework. We show how the bisociation of incongruous frames or word meanings in jokes can be modeled as a linear superposition of a set of basis states, or possible interpretations, in a complex Hilbert space. The choice of possible interpretations depends on the context provided by the set-up vs. the punchline of a joke. We apply the approach to a verbal pun, and consider how it might be extended to frame blending. An initial study of that made use of the Law of Total Probability, involving 85 participant responses to 35 jokes (as well as variants), suggests that the Quantum Theory of Humor (QTH) proposed here provides a viable new approach to modeling humor.
My review: the paper is not funny.
I’ve been reading a fantastic paper by an international collaboration on Quantized thermal transport in single-atom junctions. One of the authors has kindly put a video overview of the experimental set up online that is interesting and accesible. Check it out.
Our paper has been published in Europhysics Letter!
We study the role of dephasing in transport through different structures. We show that interference effects invalidate Kirchhoff’s circuit laws in quantum devices and illustrate the emergence of Ohmic conduction under strong dephasing. We present circuits where the particle transport and the direction of rectification can be controlled through the dephasing strength. This suggests the possibility of constructing molecular devices with new functionalities which use dephasing as a control parameter.