Kavan is an Associate Professor and ARC Future Fellow at the School of Physics and Astronomy at Monash University.
He works at the intersection of quantum information theory, quantum stochastic processes and foundations of statistical mechanics. His group uses the tools of information theory to understand and characterise complex dynamics (quantum and classical), probing, metrology, computation, thermodynamics and relativity.
His PhD research was on quantum stochastic processes at University of Texas at Austin under George Sudarshan, before moving to the National University in Singapore to focus on quantum information theory. He then spent two years at Oxford researching quantum thermodynamics before moving to Monash as a lecturer in 2014.
He was awarded the Future Fellowship in 2016 and focuses on complex quantum processes and their causal structures.
Kavan brings his knowledge of causation to the problem of consciousness – using causal modelling, stochastic modelling (estimating probability distributions of potential outcomes by allowing for random variation) and building mathematical frameworks to solve problems that seem unsolvable.
The aim is to make some minimalistic models that lead to conclusive statements on what we can say about consciousness. He believes that understanding consciousness will take us beyond the machine-human separation.