March Meeting Madness: Wrap-up

I’m back from the March Meeting having skipped most of today’s sessions in favor of hours and hours of airports (but only about 100 actual minutes of flying time!).  Here are some additional notes:

  • Got to see a great invited talk entitled ‘Quasicrystals in Medieval Islamic Architecture’ by Peter Lu as part of the session ‘Physics and Art.’  It was good enough to inspire me to join the Forum on Physics and Society which sponsored the session.  More on Peter’s work is here: www.peterlu.org.  There were others in that session I wanted to see, but had to run to my own session.
  • Frank Tabakin gave an interesting talk on a new Fortran 90 code for running large quantum computing simulations.  Their basic research started out by using a Mathematica 7 add-on called QDensity (something I use sometimes, though I prefer Quantum) and their Fortran 90 code, called QCMPI, ran with several parallel processors (including 4 connected MacBooks!).
  • Mark Coffey gave a nice talk on Schmidt decomposition and CNOT complexity.  Unfortunately I didn’t write down the arXiv reference but I did find this reference from the ACM.
  • Haitao Quan discussed the work he has been doing with Michael Zwolak and the always interesting Wojciech Zurek (who ‘smuggled’ German beer into a conference last fall) on quantum Darwinism for environments in mixed states.  Again I can’t find an arXiv reference for this (though there are a number on general quantum Darwinism).  I’m particularly interested in this since I think some of my work on static environments may be related to Zurek’s ‘envariance’ (entanglement assisted invariance).
  • Winton Brown, one of Lorenza Viola’s grad students, discussed their work on asymptotic convergence rates for statistical moments of pseudorandom circuits.  Their approach to asymptotic convergence was interesting but very different from the approach I’ve been taking lately in my studies of Birkhoff’s theorem (I’m using a group theoretic approach).  The basic idea is summed up here.
  • I hate hotels.  I much prefer cabins, cottages, etc.
  • I hate food on wooden skewers.
  • I had a great time visiting my cousins Thursday afternoon and evening!  The Carnegie Natural History museum was really interesting.
  • Dave Bacon has topped me in the ‘quirky lecture’ department.  He apparently once tied himself up in class to demonstrate some disentanglement method.

Pittsburgh is actually a pretty nice city.  It’s very much in the mold of Buffalo (though larger).  But their airport leaves a bit to be desired (even worse is Philly’s).

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