Non-Hermitian Topology:
from Classical Optics to Quantum Matter

Workshop Report

The main objective and focus of the workshop was to catalyze the interdisciplinary exchange between various fields in the physical sciences on the timely topic of non-Hermitian topology. While non-Hermitian degeneracies, also known as exceptional points, and their topological properties have been discussed for many years in the (classical) optics community, the quantum-condensed-matter-driven subject of topological phases such as topological insulators and superconductors has only more recently been extended towards non-Hermitian physics to account for dissipative processes of various origin. In this light, to the knowledge of the organizers, this workshop was the first globally visible larger event which brought together leading experts with a broad range of backgrounds constituting a strong line-up of invited speakers.

Scientific presentations by newcomers were given high priority in at least two ways: First, the arguably most visible slots in the late morning session right before lunch were reserved for contributed talks, the majority of which was given by young scientists, several of which presented fresh and innovative approaches to the topic of non-Hermitian topology. Among these, the organisers would like to mention the contribution of Ms. Janet Zhong (Stanford), who as a young graduate student and thus true newcomer really gave an impressive talk on Friday morning, where she even modified parts of her presentation over night (involving substantial simulations and new plots) to include the methodology presented by David Luitz on Thursday in her numerical analysis.

Second, the two poster sessions were not shifted to the late evening after dinner but took place in the afternoon which led to very high attendance.

From the overwhelmingly positive feedback by many participants as well as numerous inquiries regarding follow up conferences, the organizers are confident that this event has made a substantial contribution to transferring knowledge on the subject of non-Hermitian topology between otherwise scarcely communicating communities. This has led to the identification of possible new directions and experimental platforms.