## August 8, 2009

### Computation and the Periodic Table II

#### Posted by John Baez

On Tuesday my wife Lisa and I are flying back from Paris to Los Angeles, and then taking the long shuttle ride from the airport back home to Riverside. But on Wednesday we’re driving back into LA. And then on Thursday morning at 8:30, if I don’t oversleep, I’m giving a talk here:

It’s called Computation and the periodic table, and you can see the slides now. Comments and corrections are welcome!

Devotees of the $n$-Café will note that I gave a talk with a suspiciously similar title over a year ago. What’s new about this one?

Well, it’s not drastically different. But I’ve thought a lot more about 2-categories and the $\lambda$-calculus, so this goes into a bit more detail about that. And also there’s more of a focus on physics. Last year’s conference was on algebraic topology and computer science; now it’s logic and computer science — but I’ve been invited to talk about connections between these subjects and physics. So, I’m trying hard to explain how a 2-category of

• data types,
• terms, and
• rewrite rules

can resemble a 2-category of

• $D$-branes,
• states of a topological open string theory, and
• operators between open string states

and how this fits into the overall perspective of the ‘Periodic Table’ of $n$-categories. Doing this with any precision in one hour seems impossible, so I’m just trying to convey a rough flavor of the idea, while pointing people to a webpage for references that provide more details.

As with the previous incarnation of this talk, you understand it once you fully grok what these pictures mean:

Posted at August 8, 2009 6:22 PM UTC

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### Re: Computation and the Periodic Table II

Any idea what the registration fee is for nonmembers?

The registration page will not show the fees until AFTER you fill out the form (?!)

Posted by: Eric Forgy on August 8, 2009 7:16 PM | Permalink | Reply to this

### Re: Computation and the Periodic Table II

Posted by: Toby Bartels on August 8, 2009 8:18 PM | Permalink | Reply to this

As much as I love to see John’s talks, $750 is a bit steep :) Thanks for finding that info. PS: John, you and Lisa have an open invitation to visit us any time you’re in LA. Beers? :) Posted by: Eric Forgy on August 8, 2009 9:34 PM | Permalink | Reply to this ### Re: Computation and the Periodic Table II You know, I half expected you to have an IEEE membership, Eric. (Not that that would have made this cheap!) Posted by: Toby Bartels on August 9, 2009 4:39 PM | Permalink | Reply to this ### Re: Computation and the Periodic Table II I was no longer surprised about the fees when I saw it was an IEEE conference. It still seems excessive though. The fees are not much lower than the IEEE conferences I used to attend which hosted several thousand people in tens of parallel tracks hosted in elegant hotels. As far as membership, I gave up my engineering badges years ago :) Posted by: Eric Forgy on August 9, 2009 5:23 PM | Permalink | Reply to this ### Re: Computation and the Periodic Table II Eric wrote: PS: John, you and Lisa have an open invitation to visit us any time you’re in LA. Beers? :) Thanks! But I’m afraid I’ll be sufficiently busy and jet-lagged that I’m worried about how I’ll survive and stay awake even without extra fun. I have to get up at 3 am the day after tomorrow to catch my flight to LA — and from then on it’ll be go, go, go. What I’ll need is not beer but sleep. In fact I’m feeling sleepy just thinking about it! I hope sometime I can see you in LA on some more peaceful trip into town. Posted by: John Baez on August 9, 2009 6:49 PM | Permalink | Reply to this ### Re: Computation and the Periodic Table II I am in LA for the next week and I was planning on getting up early and driving over. It is showing a price of$400 for a student.

Does anyone know why they charge so much and how it is justified?

Posted by: Alex Hoffnung on August 9, 2009 12:53 AM | Permalink | Reply to this

### Re: Computation and the Periodic Table II

Does anyone know why they charge so much and how it is justified?

Well, it comes with 8 meals, not to mention that John's isn't the only talk.

Posted by: Toby Bartels on August 9, 2009 1:15 AM | Permalink | Reply to this

### Re: Computation and the Periodic Table II

Sorry for the high price — I didn’t know it was so bad. When prices get this high, the question becomes: how carefully will they check badges?

Of course it makes sense to charge money for meals, but what about people who are willing to take their own sandwich?

I found this year’s Joint Math Meetings painfully expensive, especially since I’d let my AMS membership lapse, and they seemed determined to punish me for that. But LICS is run by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), which probably makes things even worse. As you probably know, there’s a lot more money flowing through the system in engineering than in math — their pay scale is higher, but most people attending this conference will simply pay for it using a grant.

Be glad they let me put the slides of my talk on the web, where it’s free!

Posted by: John Baez on August 9, 2009 12:38 PM | Permalink | Reply to this

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