Computation and the Periodic Table
Posted by John Baez
After visiting Barcelona and Granada, I’m going to this conference:
 Algebraic Topological Methods in Computer Science, University of Paris Diderot, July 7–11, 2008, organized by Eric Goubault, Emmanuel Haucourt, Michel Hirschowitz, Sanjeevi Krishnan and Martin Raussen.
It will cover diverse subjects including concurrency theory, rewriting systems, computational algebraic topology, visualization and image analysis, distributed computing, and sensor networks. It’s the third of a series; I went to the first in Stanford back in 2001. I don’t see a program for this one yet, but there’s a poster listing some invited speakers.
I just finished making the slides for a talk I’m giving at this conference. Tonight I need to pack. Tomorrow I’ll hop aboard a plane to Spain, and summer will officially begin!

John Baez, Computation and the Periodic Table, July 7, 2008.
Abstract: By now there is an extensive network of interlocking analogies between physics, topology, logic and computer science, which can be seen most easily by comparing the roles that symmetric monoidal closed categories play in each subject. However, symmetric monoidal categories are just the n = 1, k = 3 entry of a hypothesized “periodic table” of $k$tuply monoidal ncategories. This raises the question of how these analogies extend. We present some thoughts on this question, focusing on how monoidal closed 2categories might let us understand the lambda calculus more deeply. This talk is based on work in progress with Mike Stay.
If you know exactly what this picture means, you know the idea I’m trying to explain.
Will I see any of you folks at this conference? I know Eugenia Cheng is, and I imagine Samuel Mimram is too. Anyone else?
Re: Computation and the Periodic Table
“The 2morphism analogous to betareduction in 2Tang1 is the fold catastrophe”.
Is this fold the same one of catastrophe theory ?