24 January 2018:

After a slow stretch and some bad news, progress proceeds:

1) Nina Otter got not just one but two postdoc positions!

She got a 3-year offer at UCLA, and also an offer for a postdoc at the Max Planck Institute in Leipzig, Germany. She liked both these offers, so she spent the last two weeks doing negotiations. The upshot is that she'll officially start in both places this summer. But she doesn't need to teach at UCLA in the summer, and she'll take a leave during the fall, so she'll work in Leipzig then and actually move to Los Angeles in January 2019. She plans to spend future summers at Leipzig, and be at UCLA during the school year.

At UCLA she'll will be working with Guido Montufar and Mason Porter, on theoretical foundations for machine learning (with Montufar) and networks (with Porter). They'll try to combine existing approaches with new approaches using topological data analysis, category theory, and algebraic geometry. At the Max Planck Institute she'll be working with Jürgen Jost and Bernd Sturmfels. Both are great mathematician/scientists.

Congratulations, Nina!

2) Christian Williams has written a good overview of the first Statebox Summit:

* Christian Williams, [Statebox: a universal language of distributed systems](https://johncarlosbaez.wordpress.com/2018/01/22/statebox-a-universal-language-of-distributed-systems/), Azimuth, January 22, 2018.

I first met the young Dutch hacktivist Jelle Herold at a meeting on network theory that I helped run in Torino. I saw him again at a Simons Institute meeting on compositionality in computer science. He was already talking about his new startup.

Now it’s here. It’s called Statebox. Among other things, it’s an ambitious attempt to combine categories, open games, dependent types, Petri nets, string diagrams, and blockchains into a universal language for distributed systems.

Herold is inviting academics to help. I want to. But I couldn’t go to the Croatian island of Zlarin at the drop of a hat during classes. Luckily, Christian is fascinated by the idea of using category theory and blockchain technology to do something good for the world! So, I sent him to the first Statebox summit as my "deputy", and this is his report.

3) People at the Adjoint School associated to ACT2018 are starting to write blog articles on the papers they're reading, and Joseph Moeller wrote the first, along with Dmitri Vagner:

* Joseph Moeller and Dmitri Vagner, [A categorical semantics for causal structure](https://golem.ph.utexas.edu/category/2018/01/a_categorical_semantics_for_ca.html), The n-Category Café, January 22, 2018.

There's even more, but I'll save it for next time.