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Time-evolution of local information: thermalization dynamics of local observables

Thomas Klein Kvorning, Loïc Herviou, Jens H. Bardarson

SciPost Phys. 13, 080 (2022) · published 4 October 2022

Abstract

Quantum many-body dynamics generically results in increasing entanglement that eventually leads to thermalization of local observables. This makes the exact description of the dynamics complex despite the apparent simplicity of (high-temperature) thermal states. For accurate but approximate simulations one needs a way to keep track of essential (quantum) information while discarding inessential one. To this end, we first introduce the concept of the information lattice, which supplements the physical spatial lattice with an additional dimension and where a local Hamiltonian gives rise to well defined locally conserved von Neumann information current. This provides a convenient and insightful way of capturing the flow, through time and space, of information during quantum time evolution, and gives a distinct signature of when local degrees of freedom decouple from long-range entanglement. As an example, we describe such decoupling of local degrees of freedom for the mixed field transverse Ising model. Building on this, we secondly construct algorithms to time-evolve sets of local density matrices without any reference to a global state. With the notion of information currents, we can motivate algorithms based on the intuition that information for statistical reasons flow from small to large scales. Using this guiding principle, we construct an algorithm that, at worst, shows two-digit convergence in time-evolutions up to very late times for diffusion process governed by the mixed field transverse Ising Hamiltonian. While we focus on dynamics in 1D with nearest-neighbor Hamiltonians, the algorithms do not essentially rely on these assumptions and can in principle be generalized to higher dimensions and more complicated Hamiltonians.


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