28 April 2017:

1) Kenny Courser passed his oral exam! He gave a talk called A bicategory of decorated cospans, based on his paper with the same title. He survived my questions and also the fact that two members of committee didn't remember to come until he went and grabbed them. (One them was me.)

Congratulations, Kenny!

2) I gave a talk at the Stanford Complexity Group, called [Biology as information dynamics](http://math.ucr.edu/home/baez/bio_asu/). You can see the slides by clicking on the link, and you can also [see a video here](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IKetDJof8pk).

It went a lot better than my similar talk Arizona State University, probably because this audience was more interested in the subject, I covered more ground, and I was more confident.

Marc Harper attended - he came up with some of the math I discussed, and now he's working at Google. So did Vaughn Pratt - the computer scientist who helped come up with Pratt certificates and the Knuth-Morris-Pratt algorithm. He used to be very active on the category theory mailing list, but not much lately.

3) Daniel Cicala put a paper on the arXiv:

* [Categorifying the zx-calculus](https://arxiv.org/abs/1704.07034).

> **Abstract.** This paper presents a symmetric monoidal and compact closed bicategory that categorifies the zx-calculus developed by Coecke and Duncan. The 1-cells in this bicategory are certain graph morphisms that correspond to the string diagrams of the zx-calculus, while the 2-cells are rewrite rules.

He is submitting this to [CALCO](http://coalg.org/mfps-calco2017/), the Conference on Algebra and Coalgebra in Computer Science. After he put it on the arXiv, Duncan asked him to submit it to [QPL](http://qpl.science.ru.nl/), the conference on Quantum Physics and Logic run by Duncan, Coecke and others. (Even I am involved in it, slightly, and Jason Erbele spoke there in 2015.) Luckily he can submit an "extended abstract" to QPL and have the best of both worlds.