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Previously, I completed my Ph.D. at the Center for Theoretical Physics at MIT, funded by a Hertz Foundation Fellowship and the NDSEG. Prior to that, I was a Marshall Scholar in the UK. While there, I read for Part III of the Mathematical Tripos at Cambridge and then studied quantum information at Oxford. In a previous life (undergrad), I worked on invisibility cloaks (metamaterials and transformation optics) with David R. Smith.
My name is very common, so I try my best to publish under more parts of my full name Daniel Adam Roberts—which I never go by and which (unfortunately) also happens to be very common.
Some of my work focuses on what happens when something falls into a black hole (in anti-de Sitter space). The black hole will very quickly scramble (but not destroy) the information. Black holes are thermal systems, and this is actually a manifestation of the well-known butterfly effect. We can try to think about this process in terms of its computational complexity, or we can study it as a distinguishing feature of quantum chaos.
Semi-orthogonally, I’m interested in applying supersymmetry (SUSY) to early universe cosmology; in other words, studying how inflation is embedded in supergravity (SUGRA). The first step is to understand the minimal low-energy degrees of freedom, the goldstone and goldstino, using the effective field theory of inflation.
Fully-orthogonally, I’m also interested in machine learning and AI: my team Pokermon entered and won the 2015 and 2016 MIT Pokerbots tournament. We used a variant of Counterfactual Regret Minimization (CFR) to train our agent to play two- and three-player pot-limited poker. Unrelatedly, they even gave me a patent!
Talks on YouTube
- Strings 2015 – The butterfly effect in spin chains and 2d CFT
- Defense – CHAOS, Holography, And Other Science
- Inaction in computation – short story + jokes = Nature rejection
- Thesis – stapled papers + jokes = PhD