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Uncomputability of phase diagrams

Bausch, J; Cubitt, TS; Watson, JD; (2021) Uncomputability of phase diagrams. Nature Communications , 12 (1) , Article 452. 10.1038/s41467-020-20504-6. Green open access

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Abstract

The phase diagram of a material is of central importance in describing the properties and behaviour of a condensed matter system. In this work, we prove that the task of determining the phase diagram of a many-body Hamiltonian is in general uncomputable, by explicitly constructing a continuous one-parameter family of Hamiltonians H(φ), where φ∈ R, for which this is the case. The H(φ) are translationally-invariant, with nearest-neighbour couplings on a 2D spin lattice. As well as implying uncomputablity of phase diagrams, our result also proves that undecidability can hold for a set of positive measure of a Hamiltonian’s parameter space, whereas previous results only implied undecidability on a zero measure set. This brings the spectral gap undecidability results a step closer to standard condensed matter problems, where one typically studies phase diagrams of many-body models as a function of one or more continuously varying real parameters, such as magnetic field strength or pressure.

Type: Article
Title: Uncomputability of phase diagrams
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1038/s41467-020-20504-6
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-020-20504-6
Language: English
Additional information: Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.
Keywords: Applied mathematics, Information theory and computation, Phase transitions and critical phenomena
UCL classification: UCL
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URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10120588
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