# Non-Equilibrium Statistical Mechanics talk

Published on: Tue Apr 13 2010

Today I attended a seminar on a Variational approach to Non-Equilibrium Statistical mechanics. (Maximum Caliber) It was quite a popular presentation. The speaker was talking about his new method for calculating small number problems, which are like when you are trying to find an average, so you look at the first case, and see it is one answer. So for that first case all you know is that the first case is one answer. He briefly gave an example of a single cell about to evolve and choose the left path or the right path. It’s only a little length of the path, but the decision to go left or right makes a very big deal. It touched on Risk Analysis for stocks too, just like the Barra system I’ve been using at work. If you think of your stocks as a horse race, at first all of the horses are in the gate, then the gate opens and the horses take off running. Some are a little behind and some are a little ahead. It reminded me of the book I read about Evolution (well really it was on economics, but it was on the evolution of economic systems… I need to find the book again) There was also talk of Maxwell’s Demon’s. I was pondering why I seem to be writing more handwritten notes and why the difference between learning by hand and by machine. I tend to not need to think the speech in my head but as I write by hand but by keyboard the words are clearly visible. This same feature exists for writing in code and for writing by hand. But at times when writing by code on keyboards the thought are no longer in English. This is why when I write code by hand it is hard and sometimes when I write physics by computer it is harder. Because for code it goes to pure code when I am translating through a keyboard and for physics it goes to pure symbol when writing by hand.  And as always with any type of writing eventually it is no longer speech and I can transition to pure symbolic calculations. That’s when I’ve learned to do things “In my head”.