The Azimuth Project
Blake Pollard (Rev #4)

I’m a physics PhD student at UC Riverside working under Prof. John Baez.

I work on a variety of topics. My thesis combined ideas from non-equilibrium statistical mechanics, information theory, and category theory to study certain classes of non-linear open dynamical systems used to model various behaviors of interacting entities in a number of disciplines including chemistry, ecology, and epidemiology.

I spent a year working with Metron Scientific Solutions on categorical approaches to systems engineering as part of DARPA’s Complex Adaptive Systems Composition and Design Environment (CASCADE) program.

More recently, I’ve been looking for a postdoc while working in the Automation and Control group in Siemens’ Corporate Technology division in Princeton. We’re working on general approaches to integrating heterogeneous data into flexible graphical database structures which allow for efficient inference. This involves a combination of category theory, data science, and machine learning along with a bit of common sense.

I did my undergrad in Applied Physics at Columbia University in New York where I worked at the Earth Institute on developing a two-stage classification/regression approach to tracking changes in the spatial extent of irrigated agriculture by combining multi-spectral satellite data with other data sets such as topography and rainfall data.

After Columbia I moved to Hawai’i for a year (mostly for surfing) where I worked in a particle physics group at the University of Hawai’i. Using FEA software, I optimized the design of a field cage to be used in for directional neutron detection. I also machined a prototype of the design. The group went on to construct a number of such detectors including several which were installed on Beast II, the commissioning detector for the SuperKEKB/Belle II particle accelerator in Japan.

Here are a few of my papers:

John C. Baez and Blake S. Pollard, A compositional framework for reaction networks, Reviews of Mathematical Physics, (to appear).

Blake S. Pollard, Open Markov processes: A compositional perspective on non-equilibrium steady states in biology, Entropy, 115461, 2016.

John C. Baez and Blake S. Pollard, Relative entropy in biological systems, Entropy, 18(2), 46, 2016.

John C. Baez, Brendan Fong, and Blake S. Pollard, A compositional framework for Markov processes, Journal of Mathematical Physics, 57, 033301, 2016.

Blake S. Pollard, A Second Law for open Markov processes, Open Systems and Information Dynamics, 23, 01, 2016.

John C. Baez and Blake S. Pollard, Quantropy, Entropy, 17(2), 2015.