CMSA Probability Seminar: Solving spin systems, the Babylonian way


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September 20, 2023 3:30 pm - 4:30 pm
CMSA, 20 Garden St, G10
Address: 20 Garden Street, Cambridge, MA 02138

Nicola Kistler - Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main

The replica method, together with Parisi’s symmetry breaking mechanism, is an extremely powerful tool to compute the limiting free energy of virtually any mean field disordered system. Unfortunately, the tool is dramatically flawed from a mathematical point of view. I will discuss a truly elementary procedure which allows to rigorously implement two (out of three) steps of the replica method, and conclude with some remarks on the relation between this new point of view and old work by Mezard and Virasoro on the microstructure of ultrametricity, the latter being the fundamental yet unjustified Ansatz in the celebrated Parisi solution. We are still far from a clear understanding of the issues, but quite astonishingly, evidence is mounting that Parisi’s ultrametricity assumption, the onset of scales and the universal hierarchical self-organisation of random systems in the infinite volume limit, is intimately linked to hidden geometrical properties of large random matrices which satisfy rules reminiscent of the popular SUDOKU game.