In thermal equilibrium, 1d bosonic systems (e.g. spin- or qubit- chains) cannot support intrinsically topological phases without symmetry protection. For example, the edge states of the Haldane spin chain are fragile to magnetic fields, in contrast to the absolutely stable Majorana edge states of a topological superconducting wire of fermionic electrons. This fragility is a serious drawback to harnessing topological edge states as protected quantum memories in existing AMO and qubit platforms for quantum simulation and information processing. In this talk, I will present evidence for a non-equilibrium topological phase of quasiperiodically-driven trapped ion chains, that exhibits topological edge states that are protected purely by emergent dynamical symmetries that cannot be broken by microscopic perturbations. This represents both the first experimental realization of a non-equilibrium quantum phase, and the first example of a 1d bosonic topological phase that does not rely on symmetry-protection.
Conformal field theories (CFTs) are ubiquitous in theoretical physics as fixed points of renormalization, descriptions of critical systems and more. In these theories the conformal symmetry is a powerful tool in the computation of correlation functions, especially in 2 dimensions where the conformal algebra is infinite. Discretization of field theories is another powerful tool, where the theory on the lattice is both mathematically well-defined and easy to put on a computer. In this talk I will outline how these are combined using a discrete version of the 2d conformal algebra that acts in lattice models. I will also discuss recent work on convergence of this discretization, as well as on applications to non-unitary CFTs that appear in descriptions of problems of interest in condensed matter physics such as polymers, percolation and disordered systems.