14 June 2017:
1) It looks like we'll be having a new member on our team this fall! [Christina Vasilakopoulou](https://arxiv.org/find/math/1/au:+Vasilakopoulou_C/0/1/0/all/0/1) is being offered a visiting assistant professorship at UCR, and seems likely to accept. She was a student of Martin Hyland, the category theorist at Cambridge University who also advised Tom Leinster, Eugenia Cheng and Aaron Lauda (who worked with me when he was an undergrad at UCR). Since then she's worked with various people including David Spivak. She's done a mix of "pure" category theory (applied to algebra, actually) and "applied" category theory such as this:
* David I. Spivak, Christina Vasilakopoulou, Patrick Schultz, [Dynamical systems and sheaves](https://arxiv.org/abs/1609.08086).
* Patrick Schultz, David I. Spivak, Christina Vasilakopoulou, Ryan Wisnesky, [Algebraic databases](https://arxiv.org/abs/1602.03501).
I'm sure she'll bring a lot of energy and new ideas to our team.
2) Blake and I gave talks here:
* [Dynamics, Thermodynamics and Information Processing in Chemical Networks](https://luxcnworkshop.wordpress.com/), 13-16 June 2017, Complex Systems and Statistical Mechanics Group, University of Luxembourg. Organized by Massimiliano Esposito and Matteo Polettini.
You can see my talk slides here:
* [The mathematics of open reaction networks](http://math.ucr.edu/home/baez/networks_luxembourg/open_reaction_networks_web.pdf).
There are a lot of interesting people here, including Luca Peliti, who talked about an analogy I'm really interested in:
* [Luca Peliti](http://www.peliti.org/), On the value of information in gambling, evolution and thermodynamics.
> **Abstract.** The connection between the information value of a message and capital gain was made by Kelly in 1953. In 1965 Kimura tried to evaluate the rate of information intake by a population undergoing Darwinian evolution by equating it with the substitutional load. Recently, the analogy between Kelly’s scheme and work extraction was pointed out in the context of stochastic thermodynamics. I shall try to connect these threads, highlighting analogies and differences between the meaning of information and its value in the different contexts.
and Hong Qian - Blake kept running into his work while working on his thesis:
* [Hong Qian](https://arxiv.org/find/math-ph/1/au:+Qian_H/0/1/0/all/0/1), The mathematical foundation of a landscape theory for living matter and life.
> **Abstract.** The physicists’ notion of energy is derived from Newtonian mechanics. The theory of thermodynamics is developed based on that notion, and the realization of mechanical energy dissipation in terms of heat. Since the work of L. Boltzmann, who trusted that atoms were real as early as in 1884, the heat became intimately related to the stochastic motion of the invisible atoms and molecules. In this talk, starting from a stochastic description of a class of rather general dynamics that is not limited to mechanics, we show a notion of energy can be derived mathematically, in the limit of vanishing stochasticity, based on the Kullback-Leibler divergence, or relative entropy associated with the stochastic, Markov processes. With the emergent notion of an energy function, e.g., “landscape”, a mathematical structure inherent to the stochastic dynamics, which is akin to thermodynamics, is revealed. This analysis implies that an abstract “mathematicothermodynamics” structure exists, and can be formulated, for dynamics of complex systems independent of classical thermal physics, for example, in ecology.
I've gotten a bunch of ideas for new projects, which I'm listing in a notebook.