Regular Article - Theoretical Physics
Controlling the sign problem in finite-density quantum field theory
Theoretical Physics Division, Department of Mathematical Sciences, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, L69 3BX, UK
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Accepted: 29 June 2017
Published online: 14 July 2017
Quantum field theories at finite matter densities generically possess a partition function that is exponentially suppressed with the volume compared to that of the phase quenched analog. The smallness arises from an almost uniform distribution for the phase of the fermion determinant. Large cancellations upon integration is the origin of a poor signal to noise ratio. We study three alternatives for this integration: the Gaussian approximation, the “telegraphic” approximation, and a novel expansion in terms of theory-dependent moments and universal coefficients. We have tested the methods for QCD at finite densities of heavy quarks. We find that for two of the approximations the results are extremely close—if not identical—to the full answer in the strong sign-problem regime.
© The Author(s), 2017