Zoran Konkoli

Associate Professor, Microtechnology and Nanoscience, Electronics Materials and Systems Laboratory

What do you do? That is the standard question we get during the conference dinner. I am sure that most of my colleagues have a prepared answer that they can recite without even thinking. I’ve always had a problem explaining to people what I do while standing on one foot, especially if I wanted to avoid sounding too arrogant or raising an eyebrow or two as people listen: My background is truly interdisciplinary which is strongly reflected in my current research activities.

Background:

I started as undergraduate in Physics at Zagreb University (1986-1991), obtained a doctoral degree in Theoretical Chemistry at Gothenburg University (1991-1996). After that I wanted to learn the statistical physics toolbox and wanted to move into statistical physics. This happened through the series of three post-docs: 1996-2002, studied diffusion-controlled reactions (with Henrik Johannesson, Chalmers, Institute of Theoretical Physics), moved to the Nordic Institute of Theoretical Physics (NORDITA, now moved from Copenhagen to Stockholm) where I studied protein folding with John Hertz. There I learned a great deal of spin-glass physics. In that period I continued investigating diffusion-controlled reactions. My last post-doc was with Peter Appel at the Applied Physics Department at Chalmers, where I looked into polymer-translocation problem, a remarkably challenging multi-scale modelling problem. There I stayed as assistant professor in Biological Physics (2002-2006) and this is where my truly independent scientific life started.

In 2007 I obtained a permanent position of Associate Professor at the Department of Microtechnology and Nanoscience – MC2. By that time I got my employment at MC2 it was clear to me that my research interest lie at the interface between condensed-matter theory, statistical physics, theoretical cell biology, and computer science. I decided to develop in that area being fully aware of the fact that it was the time to focus which, alas, I did not do since there are so many interesting things to look at.

My research interests are as follows:

- non-equilibrium statistical physics (diffusion-controlled reactions, polymer dynamics in “exotic” geometries; in principle anything to do with fluctuation and noise)

- theoretical cell biology (effects of noise on gene expression networks, complex formation dynamics, and HIV latency)

- (theoretical) computer science (unconventional computation: neuromorphic computing, reservoir computing, computing with memristor networks, advanced sensing systems; formal models of unconventional computation; the implementation problem – “can a rock compute?”)

Reserach hobbies:

- mathematics in general
- formal logic
- measure theory
- approximation theorems

Impact of my research results:

This is a hard one for every theoretician. I am proud of saying that I have a strong network of people I interact with. These people (1) inspire me, (2) teach me things I do not know about, (3) tell me when I am wrong, and most importantly (4) implement some of my theoretical ideas.

​TRUCE Summer School Malaga 2015

The topics listed below are constantly on offer (first to the cookie gets it). You are more than welcome to come and discuss the possibilities. I prefer to see the student first before deciding what exactly is going to be done. This practise turned out to be very productive in the past. I could (almost) always tailor a project so that it fits the student’s skills and, most importantly, his/her level of ambition/interest.

All thesis suggestions are theoretical. However, there will always be a strong network of experimentalists to interact with, should you desire to do so. I cannot promise experimental work, however.

The topics on offer are as follows:
(1) Investigate expressive power of a few selected models of unconventional computation
(2) Investigate possibilities of using reservoir computing for sensing
(3) Investigate computing capacity of reaction-diffusion systems
(4) Investigate bare-bone programming language and ways of optimizing it
(5) Investigate dynamics of memristor networks for information processing purposes
(6) Investigate reservoir computing for time series data classification
My contact information can be found on these pages few clicks away.

Published: Tue 09 Oct 2012. Modified: Fri 18 Mar 2016