Available positions

Postdoctoral position: Experimental Probes of Thermodynamic Computing

Postdoctoral Scholar position at the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena.

Available for Physics PhD interested to develop experiments on Engines of Adaptation: Self-Programming via Emergent Thermodynamic Machines in Prof. Michael Roukes’ laboratory, with co-Investigators Prof. Jim Crutchfield (Physics, UC Davis) and Prof. Erik Winfree (Computer Science, Caltech).

The position is available to recent PhDs to carry out original experimental and theoretical research in the fundamental physics of thermodynamic computing--information and computation in nanoscale classical and quantum physical substrates. Key background areas include design and fabrication nanoscale devices for unconventional, ultra-low power information processing. The primary task is the experimental exploration of the fundamental physics of information and computation in classical and quantum phenomena. Familiarity with nonlinear dynamics, pattern formation, and stochastic thermodynamics an asset. Ability to develop and maintain open-source software packages (Python) required.

For further background, please refer to the project website:


and to:

    o O-P. Saira, M. H. Matheny, R. Katti, W. Fon, G. Wimsatt, S. Han, J. P. Crutchfield, and M. L. Roukes,

        “Nonequilibrium thermodynamics of erasure with superconducting flux logic”,

        Physical Review Research 2 (2020) 013249.
    o G. Wimsatt, O-P. Saira, A. B. Boyd, M. H. Matheny, S. Han, M. L. Roukes, and J. P. Crutchfield,

        “Harnessing Fluctuations in Thermodynamic Computing via Time-Reversal Symmetries”,

        Physical Review Research (2021) to appear. arxiv.org:1906.11973.

    o G. W. Wimsatt, A. B. Boyd, P. M. Riechers, and J. P. Crutchfield,

        “Refining Landauer's Stack: Balancing Error and Dissipation When Erasing Information”,

        Journal of Statistical Physics 183:16 (2021) 1-23. doi:10.1007/s10955-021-02733-1.

    o K. J. Ray, G. W. Wimsatt, A. B. Boyd, and J. P. Crutchfield,

        “Non-Markovian Momentum Computing: Thermodynamically Efficient and Computation Universal”,

        Physical Review Research 3:2 (2021) 023164. doi:10.1103/PhysRevResearch.3.023164.

    o A. M. Jurgens and J. P. Crutchfield,

        “The Functional Thermodynamics of Finite-State Maxwellian Ratchets”,

        Physical Review Research 2:3 (2020) 033334. doi:10.1103/PhysRevResearch.2.033334.

    o S. P. Loomis and J. P. Crutchfield,

        “Thermal Efficiency of Quantum Memory Compression”,

        Physical Review Letters 125 (2020) 020601.

Position will be awarded for one year and, contingent upon performance, renewed for an additional one or two years. To apply send CV, statement of scientific interests (one page), and description of proposed work (limited to one page and specifically addressing one or several of the topics above) to Jim Crutchfield (World.Wide.Whale@icloud.com). Candidates should arrange for three letters of recommendation from established researchers, including their current supervisor, to be sent directly from the recommenders to Jim Crutchfield (World.Wide.Whale@icloud.com).

Application review starts 15 July 2021. Work start date contingent on candidate’s US Immigration status and on applicable Caltech and University of California COVID-19 guidelines. Caltech and the University of California are Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employers, strongly encouraging applications from women and minority scientists and offering competitive compensation and benefits.