Theory Seminar

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About the Theory Seminar

New Rules (since May 2012), Old rules


Date Seminars 2016   (Go to Seminars 2015, Seminars 2014, Seminars 2013, and earlier therein)

13.01.2016 The History and Future of Time (Measurement)

Vanessa Paulisch

In this seminar, I will talk about why and how time has been, is and (probably) will be measured. Especially during the last centuries, since the need for exact time keeping for navigation became clear, the goal of more and more precise clocks was pursued. Not only for navigation, but also for geodetic applications and an exact definition of the SI unit second.

20.01.2016 Phase Transitions in Topological Tensor Network States

Mohsin Iqbal

Tensor networks can be used as a tool to study topological phases of matter. These phases come with exotic properties such anyonic excitations and topological degeneracy which are manifested as the virtual (hidden) symmetry in the tensor network description of these phases. An important object to study with in tensor network framework is transfer operator. And it is possible characterize different topological phases by the symmetry properties of the transfer operator fixed points. Symmetry breaking in the transfer operator fixed points corresponds to anyon condensation (where anyons identify themselves with the vacuum). In this talk, I will try illustrate these ideas using the test case of Z_4 invariant tensors. Different possible phases and phases transitions that can be encoded in tensor networks with Z_4 virtual symmetry will be described.

28.01.2016 Natural orbitals of ultracold many-body systems: from experimental reconstruction to correlation analysis in coordinate and energy space

Guest speaker: Sven Krönke (University of Hamburg, Germany)

Deep insights into the structure of a many-body state can often be inferred from its natural orbitals (eigenvectors of the reduced one-body density operator) and their populations. In this talk, various aspects of this theoretical concept will be discussed in the context of ultracold bosonic atoms: First, I will consider the decay of dark solitons due to dynamical quantum depletion as an example for how a natural-orbital analysis can help unravelling complex many-body processes and intriguing aspects of local correlations. Secondly, it will be shown how two-body correlation measurements can in turn be utilized for reconstructing the natural-orbital densities for a certain class of many-body states. Finally, I will discuss in the context of binary bosonic mixtures how the interplay between inter-species correlations and excitation transfer can be made transparent by applying the natural-orbital analysis generalized to a whole species.

28.01.2016 TUM-MPQ Seminar: Matrix Product States and the Fractional Quantum Hall Effect

Guest speaker: Nicolas Regnault (ENS Paris, France)

The fractional quantum Hall effect is the most celebrate example of a two-dimensional phase that exhibits intrinsic topological order. We will show that many fractional quantum Hall states have an exact infinite matrix product states (MPS) representation. We will discuss how a controlled truncation can be performed on this representation and we will give a natural interpretation from the entanglement spectrum perspective. Through the MPS, We will give evidences why certain model states related to non-unitary conformal field theories, are pathological. We will also show the direct characterization of the Read-Rezayi quasihole excitations from their MPS description.

03.02.2016 Fixed-parameter Algorithms

Speaker: Stefan Kühn

Many practically relevant computational problems are NP-complete and thus it is commonly believed that there are no efficient (meaning polynomial time) algorithms for them. In practice one therefore often has to resort to approximations or heuristics which might not yield an exact/optimal solution. Fixed-parameter algorithms by contrast allow to compute an exact solution. While the runtime is still exponential, the key idea is to limit the combinatorial explosion to a parameter additionally given as input to the problem. Hence, if the parameter is small, this might still result in an acceptable complexity for practical purposes.

In this week's seminar I am going to give a very basic introduction to fixedparameter algorithms and parametrized complexity theory. I will illustrate the method with examples and show some techniques commonly used in this field.

15.02.2016 Understanding jumps and spikes in continuous quantum trajectories

Guest speaker: Antoine Tilloy (ENS Paris, France)

When a quantum system is subjected to a continuous measurement, its evolution becomes stochastic and in a proper limit, it can be described by a continuous equation with Gaussian noise. On the other hand, it is known since Bohr that a quantum system subjected to successive von Neumann measurements undergoes rare quantum jumps. The objective of this talk is to show how this simple jumpy behavior can be obtained as a Limit of the finer continuous picture and to unravel a genuinely new phenomenon: quantum spikes. After a short reminder of continuous measurement theory, I will explain why continuous quantum trajectories show seemingly discontinuous jumps when the measurement strength is increased and give an idea of the general proof. I will then say a few words about Quantum spikes, sharp scale invariant fluctuations which decorate the jumps even in the infinitely strong measurement limit and which are simply lost in the von Neumann approximation.

24.02.2016 A beginner's introduction to gravitational waves surfing

Speaker: Nicola Pancotti

02.03.2016 Lattice models and wave functions for the Fractional Quantum Hall effect

Speaker: Ivan Glasser

There is currently a lot of interest in finding models displaying the Fractional Quantum Hall effect in lattice systems. In this talk I will give an introduction to the Fractional Quantum Hall effect and the model wave functions that have contributed to much of our understanding of this effect. I will then show how these wave functions can be applied to lattice systems in the context of infinite dimensional matrix product states using the examples of the Laughlin and the Moore-Read states. I will discuss the properties of these lattice states and show that in most (but not all) cases the topological properties on the lattice are the same as in the continuum. Finally I will explain how to derive exact parent Hamiltonians for these states and how deformations of these parent Hamiltonians lead to local spin models realizing Fractional Quantum Hall physics.
References :
- H.-H. Tu, A. E. B. Nielsen, J. I. Cirac, G. Sierra, New J. Phys. 16, 033025 (2014)
- I. Glasser, J. I. Cirac, G. Sierra, and A. E. B. Nielsen, New J. Phys. 17, 082001 (2015)
- I. Glasser, J. I. Cirac, G. Sierra, and A. E. B. Nielsen, in preparation

09.03.2016 Long range order and symmetry breaking in PEPS

Speaker: Manuel Rispler

I will start by briefly motivating how projected entangled pair states (PEPS) can be used as a framework for the construction of many body models from a single tensor. I will then consider PEPS with Z2-symmetry and study the occurrence of long range order and its relation to the spectrum of the so called transfer operator. I will demonstrate how properties of the transfer operator naturally lead to spontaneous symmetry breaking in its fixed point space and how we can extract physical properties from the latter. I will conclude with discussing the implications of symmetry breaking for the boundary physics of the PEPS model and how it leads to local entanglement Hamiltonians also in symmetry broken phases.
Reference: MR, K. Duivenvoorden, N.Schuch, Phys. Rev. B 92 155133 (2015)

15.03.2016 Artificial intelligence, learning and quantum mechanics

Guest speaker: Vedran Dunjko (University of Innsbruck, Austria)

In the last few years there has been an increasing interest in the potential of quantum improvements in machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI). In this talk, I will present an overview of some of the recent results in this field, but also in the `dual’ discipline, which focuses on the utility of ML/AI techniques when applied to quantum mechanics problems. Following this, I will focus on the research of our group in Innsbruck, which addresses both sides of this coin, primarily through the study of the physics-oriented Projective Simulation model for AI. In the end, I will introduce some of our most recent results which concern provable quantum improvements in learning from quantum-accessible task environments.

23.03.2016 Casimir-Polder forces and their consequences: from matter-wave scattering in complex geometries to CP violation and quantum friction

Guest speaker: Stefan Buhmann (University of Freiburg, Germany)

Casimir-Polder forces between a single atom and a macroscopic body are effective electromagnetic interactions that may be attributed to the vacuum fluctuations of the electromagnetic field. I will introduce macroscopic quantum electrodynamics as a powerful tool to study this force for arbitrary geometries. As examples, I will consider a dielectric sphere and a grating, showing how the position-dependent Casimir-Polder energy influences the scattering of cold atomic matter waves. In the second part of my talk, I will discuss two more exotic types of Casimir-Polder interaction. Firstly, I will show how media violating the Lorentz reciprocity property give rise to force which are sensitive to violations of charge-parity symmetry. Secondly, I will discuss how atoms moving parallel to a smooth surface may experience a quantum friction force.

06.04.2016 TUM-MPQ Seminar: Universal Quantum Physics in Driven Open Many-Body Systems

Guest speaker: Sebastian Diehl (University of Cologne, Germany)

Quantum optics and many-body physics increasingly merge together in ultracold atomic gases and certain classes of solid state systems. This gives rise to new non-equilibrium scenarios even in stationary state, where coherent and dissipative dynamics appear on an equal footing. Oftentimes however, in the transition from microscopic scales to macroscopic distances, much of the underlying quantum dynamics is washed out, and the long distance many-body physics is (semi-)classical.

Here we present two instances which do not follow this generic pattern. The first addresses the critical dynamics in a driven open system with a dark state realizable in microcavity arrays. We find it governed by a new non-equilibrium universality class, characterized by the absence of decoherence and thermalization. The second focuses on an ensemble of driven Rydberg atoms, in which the interplay of constrained coherent quantum dynamics and dissipation leads to a new variant of a non-equilibrium absorbing state transition beyond the classical paradigm of directed percolation.

20.04.2016 (Quantum) Boltzmann machines

Speaker: András Molnár

In the talk I will introduce Boltzmann machines. Boltzmann machines are a special model for machine learning. I will try to explain how they can be used to solve certain typical tasks such as classification or dimension reduction. Finally I will discuss a possible quantum generalization recently proposed by Amin et al.

27.04.2016 TUM-MPQ Seminar: Probing dynamical phase transitions with the statistics of excitations

Guest speaker: Alessandro Silva (SISSA, Trieste, Italy)

Dynamical phase transitions can occur in isolated quantum systems that are brought out of equilibrium by either a sudden or a gradual change of their parameters. Theoretical examples rage from the behaviour of the O(N) model in the large N limit as well as spin-model with long range interactions, both showing dynamical criticality in their prethermal steady-states. In this talk I will start by discussing the characterization of such dynamical phase transitions based on the statistics of produced excitations. I will focus both on the role of fluctuations as well as on the difference between sudden and gradual changes of the parameters. Finally, I will discuss a second type type of dynamical criticality discussed in the literature, related to the emergence of zeroes in the Loschmidt amplitude, and show that this phenomenon is much less generic and robust than standard dynamical criticality.

11.05.2016 An Introduction to Topological Quantum Field Theory

Speaker: Anna Hackenbroich

Intrinsically topologically ordered systems such as fractional quantum Hall samples possess elementary bulk excitations with anyonic statistics. For this reason they are very interesting both in their own right and as possible platforms for topological quantum memories or topological quantum computation. In the limit of very low energies, topologically ordered systems are described by a topological quantum field theory (TQFT). In this talk, we give an elementary introduction to a particular version of TQFT that describes the fusion and braiding of anyons. In particular, we define anyons as representations of the braid group and discuss the concept of fusion and fusion rules. We then introduce fusion and splitting spaces and discuss F-moves and the pentagon equation as well as R-moves and the hexagon equation. These definitions allow us to derive a physical characterisation of the quantum dimension. We conclude by discussing some examples.

20.05.2016 To what extent can information propagation decouple from energy propagation?

Guest speaker: Robert Jonsson (University of Waterloo, Canada)

The way in which quantities such as energy, classical and quantum information, and entanglement propagate through extended systems is of great interest from quantum field theory to condensed matter systems. Here, I will explore the extent to which the propagation of information requires a flow of energy. I will show that even in the basic case of a massless Klein-Gordon field in the vacuum, the propagation of information can decouple from the propagation of energy to a large extent and, in special circumstances, it can even decouple completely. The new phenomenon arises from the quantization of classical wave phenomena, associated with the strong Huygens principle. These result in signals which propagate partially slower than the speed of light even in massless fields. Potential applications range from cosmology to quantum information.

25.05.2016 The functional renormalization group and the Hubbard model

Speaker: Benedikt Herwerth

The functional renormalization group provides exact flow equations for generating functionals of quantum field theories under an energy scale. Truncations of these flow equations lead to approximations schemes, which can be used to gain physical insight about the low-energy physics of a model. In this talk, the flow equations for fermionic fields are introduced and applications to the Hubbard model are discussed.

The talk will mainly be based on the following references:
[1] P. Kopietz et al., "Introduction to the functional renormalization Group", Springer, 2010.
[2] W. Metzner et al., "Functional renormalization group approach to correlated fermion systems", Reviews of Modern Physics 84.1 (2012).
[3] C. Honerkamp, "Functional Renormalization Group for Interacting Many-Fermion Systems on Two-Dimensional Lattices", Springer Series in Solid-State Sciences, Volume 171 (2012).

01.06.2016 From Geometry To Topology

Speaker: Julian Roos

I will give a pedagogical non-formal introduction to the notion of topology. The idea is to outline an intuitive pathway from geometrical to topological concepts by increasing the number of allowed transformations within the congruence classes of Euclidean geometry. I will then pick one or the other basic system from the class of topological phases of matter and discuss why the word topological is used to describe it.

15.06.2016 Digital Quantum Simulations

Speaker: Daniel González Cuadra

Simulating quantum systems is a hard problem, meaning that the resources that a classical computer requires to study them grows exponentially with the size of the system. Quantum simulations, on the other hand, exploit the quantum nature of highly controllable physical systems, such as trapped ions or ultracold atoms, to perform efficient simulations of a broad range of quantum phenomena. In this seminar I will review the topic of quantum simulation, focussing on the exponential improvement in efficiency with respect to its classical counterpart. I will consider in particular the case of digital quantum simulations, that can be regarded as a class of quantum computation algorithms. Then I will explain how a quantum simulator can be built using a trapped ion setup to study, for example, quantum spin systems. I will finish by showing a recent experiment where a lattice gauge theory was simulated with a four-qubit digital quantum simulator.

22.06.2016 Topological systems on a lattice

Speaker: Henrik Dreyer

We will discuss the meaning of fusion rules and fusion trees for spin systems on a lattice and derive them for the Kitaev Toric Code. An efficient PEPS construction of its ground state wavefunction will be highlighted. This construction also works for the generalised case - the Quantum Double Models, which we subsequently discuss, in particular in terms of an example that hosts non-abelian anyons.

29.06.2016 Symmetries in classical and quantum physics - from groups to Hopf C*-algebras

Speaker: Andreas Bauer

Symmetry is one of the leading concepts in physics. For classical, deterministic systems, a symmetry is given by a group and its action on the configuration space via permutations. Using a graphical language, I will motivate that an attempt to generalise the notion of symmetry to a (quantum) probabilistic theory naturally leads to Hopf C*-algebras and their representations. There are many examples of such Hopf C*-algebras that go beyond the case of groups and their representations, like the ones obtained from the so-called quantum double construction. In the end, I will show how the latter can be used to define excitations in the quantum double models.

06.07.2016 Quantum algorithms for Hamiltonian simulation - an overview of 20 years of progress

Speaker: Yimin Ge

The simulation of the dynamics of quantum systems, as originally envisioned by Feynman, is one of the main motivations for quantum computers. The first explicit quantum algorithm for this problem, due to Lloyd in 1996, simulates the evolution of a local Hamiltonian using a simple Trotter expansion. Although elementary, its complexity is unsatisfactory in several ways. Since then, a wide spectrum of improvements have been proposed, including exponentially better error dependencies, linear time scalings and generalisations to sparse Hamiltonians. The methods range from graph colourings to quantum walks and most recently quantum signal processing. In this talk, I will give an overview of this "zoo" of algorithms, including recent developments towards essentially optimal runtime complexities.

20.07.2016 Coherently driven 2-component Bose gases

Guest speaker: Alessio Recati (TUM Munich, Germany)

In the present talk I will give an overview on the physics of 2-component Bose gases in presence of a spin exchange Rabi term. The Rabi term reduces the gauge symmetry of the system and a gap opens for relative phase excitations. The latter has many consequences. In particular it leads to the formation of vortex dimers coupled through sine-Gordon solitons. Results on the dynamics of the vortex dimer are presented.

The system exhibits also a second order (quantum) phase transition between a neutral (paramagnetic) and a polarised (ferromagnetic) state, provided the interspecies interaction is large enough. I will discuss some phenomena related to the phase transition and to the two phases and the interplay between Rabi coupling and density-density interaction:

(i) at a mean-field level for a continuous model - which well described atoms in a shallow trap.

(ii) for a one-dimensional single band Hubbard model - which describes atoms confined in an one-dimensional optical lattice.

28.07.2016 Steady states and dynamics in many-body driven-dissipative systems

Guest speaker: Mohammad Faghfoor Maghrebi (University of Maryland, USA)

Many-body systems with both coherent dynamics and dissipation constitute a rich class of models which are nevertheless much less explored than their dissipationless counterparts. The advent of numerous experimental platforms that simulate such dynamics poses an immediate challenge to systematically understand and classify these models. In particular, nontrivial many-body states emerge as steady states under non-equilibrium dynamics. In this talk, I use a systematic approach to study nonequilibrium phases and phase transitions and the dynamics in such models. I show that an effective thermal behavior generically emerges as a result of dissipation. Finally I use this equivalence to make quantitative predictions about the steady-state and dynamical properties of these systems.

31.08.2016 Quantum Resource Theory and Coherence Measurement

Speaker: Zhiyuan Wei

In this talk I will start by giving an introduction to the concepts and principles of quantum resource theory(QRT). The main idea of QRT is to view some properties of quantum systems as resources for some tasks in quantum information and other areas of physics. QRT can be constructed on many quantities like entanglement, non uniformity and coherence, and relative entropy of a resource play a key role in these QRTs. After that, I will go on to review the recent progress in QRT of coherence, and talk about one of our recent work on measuring the quantum coherence using interference fringes.

6.09.2016 at 14:00 Correlation reconstruction in non-uniform one-dimensional systems: the example of the free Fermi gas

Invited speaker: Jerome Dubail (University of Lorraine)

Many large-scale, universal, effects in one-dimensional systems at quantum critical points can be tackled with a combination of methods from solvable lattice models and from field theory, usually conformal field theory (CFT) and Luttinger liquid ideas. Yet, the applicability of such tools in condensed matter physics is often limited to situations in which the bulk is uniform: CFT, in particular, describes low-energy excitations around some energy scale, assumed to be constant throughout the system. However, in many experimental contexts, such as quantum gases in trapping potentials and in many out-of-equilibrium situations, systems are strongly inhomogeneous. We will argue that standard CFT methods can nevertheless be extended to deal with such 1D situations, and we will illustrate the main idea with simple free fermion examples. The method we develop can be thought of as the Local Density Approximation (LDA) on steroids: while standard LDA allows to calculate density profiles (more generally, expectation values of local operators), here we use LDA to extract the position-dependent parameters that enter the field theory action, such as the components of the metric tensor. Then, once the action has been fixed, all correlation functions follow; this strategy will be illustrated with new results about entanglement entropies in trapped one-dimensional gases.

We will also discuss a seemingly unrelated problem: the entanglement growth of local operators in Heisenberg picture, which plays a key role in understanding the efficiency/non-efficiency of Heisenberg-picture DMRG. We will shed light on one of the early observations of Prosen and Pizorn [Phys. Rev. A 76, 032316, 2007]: that the entanglement of operators carrying a Jordan-Wigner string grows logarithmically in time

7.09.2016 at 11:30 Quantum information in many-body physics

Invited speaker: Ugo Marzolino (University of Ljubljana)

I will discuss two research lines I'm developing. The first is quantum information with identical particles. I will start with a careful definition which takes into account the impossibility to distinguish particles, and which reduces to the usual definition for distinguishable particles. I will then show that entanglement of identical particles is easily quantified or witnessed when the total particle number is conserved, and show the effects of noise. These features are manifestations of a geometry of entangled states very different from that of distinguishable particles. The second topic that I will discuss is the characterization of steady states of quantum spin chains using the quantum Fisher information. This approach enables to identify both regimes of quantum enhanced metrology and quantum non-equilibrium phase transition. In particular, I will show the XXZ model with boundary Markovian noise, which exhibits a critical phase with infinitely many critical points and without local order parameters at small noise strength. At moderate and large noise, a local order parameter at the onset of the critical phase emerges.

12.09.2016 at 15:30 Competition between Weak Quantum Measurement and Many-Body Dynamics in Ultracold Bosonic Gases

Invited speaker: Wojciech Kozlowski (University of Oxford )

Trapping ultracold atoms in optical lattices enabled numerous breakthroughs uniting several disciplines. Although light is a key ingredient in such systems, its quantum properties are typically neglected, reducing its role to a classical tool for atom manipulation. Here we show how elevating light to the quantum level leads to novel phenomena, inaccessible in setups based on classical optics. Interfacing a many-body atomic system with quantum light opens it to the environment in an essentially nonlocal way, where spatial coupling can be carefully designed. The effect of measurement backaction results in the generation of multiple many-body spatial modes which in turn lead to novel multimode dynamics when the coupling is weak. On the other hand, strong measurement leads to non-Hermitian dynamics with selective suppression and enhancement of dynamical processes beyond quantum Zeno dynamics. Finally, we consider measurement backaction due to coupling to the matter-field interference and show it leads to a new type of measurement projections beyond those postulated by the Copenhagen interpretation.

13.09.2016 at 11:30 Detection efficiency loophole in tests of quantumness

Invited speaker: Marcin Pawłowski (University of Gdańsk)

Tests of quantumness are experiments which enable us to exclude the possibility of modelling them with classical means. They enable us to prove strong statements about the nature of the universe and obtain cryptographic protocols with an unprecedented level of security. One of the biggest problems with these experiments is called "detection efficiency loophole". It refers to the fact that with the current technology most of the results is inconclusive because of the losses in transmission and detection of the particles. In this talk I'll start by presenting the loophole and outlining the dangers it posses both to fundamental research and practical cryptography. Then I'll discuss our latest results on optimization of setups and procedures which increase the critical amount of tolerated losses above which the experiments are inconclusive.

21.09.2016 at 11:30 How can recent development in machine learning changes

automatic theorem proving?

Xiaotong Ni


The recent breakthrough of computer vision has caused a new wave of people applying machine learning to their own domain of interests. In this talk, I will try to focus on a more fundamental problem, which is automatic theorem proving (or more generally, automatically making discoveries in theoretical science). To understand the field and the possible impact from recent machine learning progress, I will give an introduction to a few projects ranged from 1970 - 2016:

The Mizar project:

The conjecture-making computer program, Graffiti (an interesting read about stories with Erdös The Robbins conjecture:

A Deepmind's project: A Google's project:

(The speaker doesn't know enough about first-order logic. So if you have good knowledge and have some free time before next Wednesday, please contact the speaker

28.09.2016 at 11:30 Recent developments on the detection of Bell correlations in many-body quantum systems

Jordi Tura Brugués


In the first part of the talk, I will review some of the progress that has been achieved during the last two years in the detection of nonlocality in many-body quantum systems, both theoretically and experimentally. The second part of the talk will be focused on [arXiv:1607.06090]. There, we present a method to show that the ground state of some quantum many-body spin Hamiltonians in one spatial dimension are nonlocal. We assign a Bell inequality to the given Hamiltonian in a natural way and we find its classical bound using dynamic programming. The Bell inequality is such that its quantum value corresponds to the ground state energy of the Hamiltonian, which we find exactly by mapping the spin system to a quadratic system of fermions using the Jordan-Wigner transformation. The method can also be used from the opposite point of view; namely, as a new method to optimize certain Bell inequalities. In the translationally invariant (TI) case, we provide an exponentially faster solution of the classical bound and analytically closed expressions of the quantum value. We apply our method to three examples: a tight TI inequality for 8 parties, a quasi TI uniparametric inequality for any even number of parties, and we show that the ground state of a spin glass is nonlocal in some parameter region.