Currently, I am a second year PhD student at the University of California, San Diego studying physics under the supervision of Gabriel Silva in the Center for Engineered Natural Intelligence. My research interests are in the application of statistical mechanics to neural systems and machine learning non-euclidian data. As an undergraduate student, I worked as an experimental condensed matter physcists advised by Ivan K. Schuller at the Center for Advanced Nanoscience.

Research Interests

As an undergraduate, I became fascinated by how seemingly simple systems interact and exhibit emergent behavior. Naturally, my interest in these systems drew me to the field of condensed matter physics where atoms conspire to produce extraordinary complex phenomena. Under the supervision of Ivan Schuller, I worked on the nonequilibrium phase transition of vanadium oxides in which a strong electrical perturbation can result in dramatic macroscopic responses.

Entering graduate school, I decided to work on complex networks, systems with large degrees of heterogeneity. Since then, my interests have diverged into two research directions: the application of statistical mechanics and field theory to neural systems and machine learning on data structured as a graph. While these two research directions appear disconnected, my hope is that the need for a deeper understanding of machine learning algorithms and for robust large scale analysis of neural systems will necessitate the application and inclusion of both research directions.

Current (broad) interests: universality, renormalization group, graph neural networks, variational autoencoders


A more comprehensive and updated list can be found on google scholar.

  • Lewi, T., Butakov, N.A., Iyer, P.P., Evans, H.A., Higgs, D., Chorsi, H., Trastoy, J., Granda, J.D.V., Valmianski, I., Urban, C. and Kalcheim, Y., 2019, September. Reconfigurable semiconductor Mie-resonant meta-optics. In Metamaterials, Metadevices, and Metasystems 2019 (Vol. 11080, p. 110802P). International Society for Optics and Photonics.
  • Lewi, T., Butakov, N.A., Evans, H.A., Knight, M.W., Iyer, P.P., Higgs, D., Chorsi, H., Trastoy, J., Granda, J.D.V., Valmianski, I. and Urban, C., 2019. Thermally reconfigurable meta-optics. IEEE Photonics Journal, 11(2), pp.1-16.
  • del Valle, J., Salev, P., Tesler, F., Vargas, N.M., Kalcheim, Y., Wang, P., Trastoy, J., Lee, M.H., Kassabian, G., Ramírez, J.G. and Rozenberg, M.J., 2019. Subthreshold firing in Mott nanodevices. Nature, 569(7756), pp.388-392.
  • Valmianski, I., Wang, P.Y., Wang, S., Ramirez, J.G., Guénon, S. and Schuller, I.K., 2018. Origin of the current-driven breakdown in vanadium oxides: Thermal versus electronic. Physical Review B, 98(19), p.195144.
  • Butakov, N.A., Knight, M.W., Lewi, T., Iyer, P.P., Higgs, D., Chorsi, H.T., Trastoy, J., Del Valle Granda, J., Valmianski, I., Urban, C. and Kalcheim, Y., 2018. Broadband electrically tunable dielectric resonators using metal–insulator transitions. Acs Photonics, 5(10), pp.4056-4060.