Abstract:
Recent advancements in technology and methodology have led to growing amounts of increasingly complex neuroscience data recorded from various species, modalities, and levels of study. The rapid data growth has made efficient data access and flexible, machine-readable data annotation a crucial requisite for neuroscientists. Clear and consistent annotation and organization of data is not only an important ingredient for reproducibility of results and re-use of data, but also essential for collaborative research and data sharing. In particular, efficient data management and interoperability requires a unified approach that integrates data and metadata and provides a common way of accessing this information. In this paper we describe GNData, a data management platform for neurophysiological data. GNData provides a storage system based on a data representation that is suitable to organize data and metadata from any electrophysiological experiment, with a functionality exposed via a common application programming interface (API). Data representation and API structure are compatible with existing approaches for data and metadata representation in neurophysiology. The API implementation is based on the Representational State Transfer (REST) pattern, which enables data access integration in software applications and facilitates the development of tools that communicate with the service. Client libraries that interact with the API provide direct data access from computing environments like Matlab or Python, enabling integration of data management into the scientist's experimental or analysis routines.

Abstract:
A powerful and well-established tool for free-energy estimation is Bennett's acceptance ratio method. Central properties of this estimator, which employs samples of work values of a forward and its time reversed process, are known: for given sets of measured work values, it results in the best estimate of the free-energy difference in the large sample limit. Here we state and prove a further characteristic of the acceptance ratio method: the convexity of its mean square error. As a two-sided estimator, it depends on the ratio of the numbers of forward and reverse work values used. Convexity of its mean square error immediately implies that there exists an unique optimal ratio for which the error becomes minimal. Further, it yields insight into the relation of the acceptance ratio method and estimators based on the Jarzynski equation. As an application, we study the performance of a dynamic strategy of sampling forward and reverse work values.

Abstract:
The nonequilibrium work fluctuation theorem provides the way for calculations of (equilibrium) free energy based on work measurements of nonequilibrium, finite-time processes and their reversed counterparts by applying Bennett's acceptance ratio method. A nice property of this method is that each free energy estimate readily yields an estimate of the asymptotic mean square error. Assuming convergence, it is easy to specify the uncertainty of the results. However, sample sizes have often to be balanced with respect to experimental or computational limitations and the question arises whether available samples of work values are sufficiently large in order to ensure convergence. Here, we propose a convergence measure for the two-sided free energy estimator and characterize some of its properties, explain how it works, and test its statistical behavior. In total, we derive a convergence criterion for Bennett's acceptance ratio method.

Abstract:
We calculate the energy-momentum balance in quantum dielectrics such as Bose-Einstein condensates. In agreement with the experiment [G. K. Campbell et al. Phys. Rev. Lett. 94, 170403 (2005)] variations of the Minkowski momentum are imprinted onto the phase, whereas the Abraham tensor drives the flow of the dielectric. Our analysis indicates that the Abraham-Minkowski controversy has its root in the Roentgen interaction of the electromagnetic field in dielectric media.

Abstract:
If quantum friction existed [J.B. Pendry, New J. Phys. 12, 033028 (2010)] an unlimited amount of useful energy could be extracted from the quantum vacuum and Lifshitz theory would fail. Both are unlikely to be true.

Abstract:
An invisibility device should guide light around an object as if nothing were there, regardless where the light comes from. Ideal invisibility devices are impossible due to the wave nature of light. This paper develops a general recipe for the design of media that create perfect invisibility within the accuracy of geometrical optics. Here the imperfections of invisibility can be made arbitrarily small to hide objects that are much larger than the wavelength. Using modern metamaterials, practical demonstrations of such devices seem possible. The method developed here can be also applied to escape from detection by other forms of waves such as sound.

Abstract:
Light experiences dielectric matter as an effective gravitational field and matter experiences light as a form of gravity as well. Light and matter waves see each other as dual space-time metrics, thus establishing a unique model in field theory. Actio et reactio are governed by Abraham's energy-momentum tensor and equations of state for quantum dielectrics.

Abstract:
Laboratory-based optical analogs of astronomical objects such as black holes rely on the creation of light with an extremely low or even vanishing group velocity (slow light). These brief notes represent a pedagogical attempt towards elucidating this extraordinary form of light. This paper is a contribution to the book Artificial Black Holes edited by Mario Novello, Matt Visser and Grigori Volovik. The paper is intended as a primer, an introduction to the subject for non-experts, not as a detailed literature review.

Abstract:
Perfect imaging has been believed to rely on negative refraction, but here we show that an ordinary positively-refracting optical medium may form perfect images as well. In particular, we establish a mathematical proof that Maxwell's fish eye in two-dimensional integrated optics makes a perfect instrument with a resolution not limited by the wavelength of light. We also show how to modify the fish eye such that perfect imaging devices can be made in practice. Our method of perfect focusing may also find applications outside of optics, in acoustics, fluid mechanics or quantum physics, wherever waves obey the two-dimensional Helmholtz equation.

Abstract:
Simple optical instruments are linear optical networks where the incident light modes are turned into equal numbers of outgoing modes by linear transformations. For example, such instruments are beam splitters, multiports, interferometers, fibre couplers, polarizers, gravitational lenses, parametric amplifiers, phase-conjugating mirrors and also black holes. The article develops the quantum theory of simple optical instruments and applies the theory to a few characteristic situations, to the splitting and interference of photons and to the manifestation of Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen correlations in parametric downconversion. How to model irreversible devices such as absorbers and amplifiers is also shown. Finally, the article develops the theory of Hawking radiation for a simple optical black hole. The paper is intended as a primer, as a nearly self-consistent tutorial. The reader should be familiar with basic quantum mechanics and statistics, and perhaps with optics and some elementary field theory. The quantum theory of light in dielectrics serves as the starting point and, in the concluding section, as a guide to understand quantum black holes.