Computational High Energy Physics

Cengiz Pehlevan, Daniel Doro Ferrante and Gerald S. Guralnik
Brown University, BOX 1843
{cengiz, danieldf, gerry}
1. Complex Langevin Equation
1.1 Motivation
The solution space of Schwinger-Dyson equations led us to complexified path integrals. The con-
ventionel numerical methods to study path integrals, i.e. Monte Carlo methods, work on Euclidean
space path integrals of real actions, i.e. the sign problem. We need new numerical methods for
complexified path integrals. The new numerical method will be of use in many other applications,
e.g. simulating QFT in Minkowski space, nuclear physics problems with complex actions, QCD with
chemical potential, etc.
We consider complex Langevin equations as a numerical method for this purpose. The crucial insight
is the correspondence between the stationary distributions of a complex Langevin equation and the
solutions of the Schwinger-Dyson equation of the associated QFT.
1.2 Langevin Equations and Stochastic Quantization
Stochastic quantization using Langevin equations in Euclidean space was first proposed by Parisi and
Wu. Consider an n dimensional Euclidean QFT with action S[φ(x)]. Add a new coordinate to
the fields φ, the fictitious time τ, φ(x) → φ(x, τ). The fictitious time evolution of φ(x, τ)
is governed by a stochastic equation that allows for relaxation to equilibrium, i.e. the Langevin
∂φ(x, τ)
= −
δφ(x, τ)
+ η(x, τ) ; ,
where η(x, τ) is a Gaussian white noise.
The main assertion of stochastic quantization is that the probability distribution P(φ, τ) associated
with the Langevin process relaxes to the Euclidean path integral independent of the initial condition,
P(φ, τ) =



Stochastic quantization is useful in quantization of gauge theories, it enables quantization without
gauge-fixing. It provides also a new numerical method for the study of QFT’s.
1.3 Complex Langevin Equation
Can one use the Langevin equation in Minkowski space? Or more generally for path integrals with
complex weights? Parisi and Klauder suggested the use of complex Langevin equation for this
purpose. One still uses the Langevin equation but now the drift term is complex. Because the drift
is complex, no precise mathematical analysis can be given (yet). Numerical studies show noncon-
vergence, convergence to the desired complex distributions and convergence to other distributions.
Why are we interested in this then? If the complex Langevin equation converges, the resulting
complex distribution satisfies Schwinger-Dyson equations!
Let’s do this in 0 dimensions for simplicity. Applying the rules of Ito calculus to the complex Langevin
equation will give the identity,

F(φ(τ)) =



For stationary distributions the LHS is zero. Then substituting F(φ) = φ
, the Schwinger-Dyson
identities are produced order by order. This stationary distribution must be a linear combination of
the complex path integral solutions to the Schwinger-Dyson equation,
Peq(φR) =

(φR) ≡


where ΓI are independent contours that connect the zeros of e
on the complex φ plane!
If one can control the flow to the stationary state, this suggests a new numerical method.
2. Three-Dimensional Gravity and Symmetry Breaking
2.1 Chern-Simons Theory
Chern-Simons (CS) theory has a curious history: It was discovered in the context of anomalies in
the 70’s. It was only by the mid-80’s that it was realized that ordinary Einstein gravity in (2 + 1)-
dimensions is a natural example of a CS system. There is an intrinsic connection between CS and
the [mathematical] theory of knots and link invariants. The table below shows some of the analogies:
Knot Theory Chern-Simons Theory
knots and links Wilson loops
polynomial invariants vev’s of products of Wilson loops
singular knots operators of singular knots
Vassiliev invariants coefficients of the perturbative series
configuration space integral Landau gauge
The key to construct the CS form in 3-dim is as follows: the Pontryagin form, P = tr(F ∧ F),
is closed, dP = 0. (F = dA + A ∧ A is the curvature of the Lie algebra-valued connection
1-form A, taken in the adjoint representation. Upon a gauge transformation, F → F

= g
where g ∈ g, the Lie algebra of the gauge group G. So using the cyclic property of the trace we
see that the Pontryagin form, P, remains invariant under gauge transformations.) By Poincar´e’s
Lemma, P is locally exact, i.e., P = dQ. Thus, Q = LSC is the CS Lagrangian, found to be
Q = LSC = tr(A∧ dA+
A∧ A∧ A).
More than sixty years of frustrated efforts to quantize this theory can explain the immediate attention
drawn by Witten’s observation that gravity in (2+1)-dim is an exactly solvable model! This means
that the quantum theory can be completely and explicitly spelled out. This is due to the fact that
(2 +1)-dim gravity has no propagating degrees of freedom and, therefore, its quantum description
is like that of a system of point particles. It is a particular case of a Topological QFT!
2.2 Witten: Monster Group and Number Theory
Witten just introduced the concept that pure 3-dim gravity with negative cosmological constant
may be holomorphic factorized only for certain (discrete) values of the coupling constant. According
to this theory, the Monster group may be the first in a discrete series of CFTs that are dual to
3-dim gravity; where the partition functions are determined on a hyperelliptic Riemann surface of
any genus. Therefore, a theory that was thought to have no physical degrees of freedom, now seem
to have revealed its kinematical variables in another “phase” of the theory (related to BTZ black
However, this hardly comes as a surprise to us, once all we need to do is realize that the Chern-
Simons Lagrangian is just a non-abelian extension of the scalar φ
model: that is, all we have to do
is extend φ from being a scalar-valued 0-form to a Lie algebra-valued 1-form, A. Here is how we
do it:
Path Integral: Z[J] =

+i J φ

3 dφ

; (1)
Schwinger-Dyson: φ
+ J = 0
φ→−i ∂J
======⇒ (∂
−J) Z = 0 . (2)
This shows that a model usually considered non-physical, does indeed have physical solutions. These
formulas above, together with the very same contour C, can be used to extend φ from scalar-valued
to matrix-valued or Lie Algebra-valued — this is a nice result by Varadarajan: the two solutions
to the Schwinger-Dyson equation (2) are Airy functions, Ai(J) and Bi(J).
2.3 Symmetry Breaking, Topology Change and Phase Transitions
In this setting, the connections with Braid and Knot Theory and the Configuration Space [of this
theory] seem to jump before our eyes: does having two distinct Generating Functions implies that
we shall need two different polynomial invariants, or does it imply that the representation of the
Lie group in question can be dynamically determined (by the two possible contours). Given that
the Chern-Simons form is a topological invariant, one can use it in order to measure whether a
topological phase transition has occurred.
3. Topology Change, Ramificaitons and Langlands Duality
3.1 Symmetry Breaking and Topology Change
Using a conformal transformation of the metric, we can recast the Lagrangian of any theory solely
in terms of a kinetic term:
L =
g(π, π) −V (φ) ;
≡ ˜ g
(π, π) ;
˜ g
= 2

E −V (φ)

g ;
where E is the total energy of the system. The different phases of this theory are, then, given by
the geodesics (γ) of this metric, which can all be found via,
˜ g



= 1 ;
⇒ 2

E −V (γ)




= 1 ;



E −V (γ)
with the initial condition γ(0) = 0 .
Note that the potential V (φ) will depend on some parameters, and it is by analyzing these param-
eters (i.e., analyzing the geodesic equation in parameter space) that we will find all of the distinct
solutions and phases of the theory. For concreteness sake, let us assume [without loss of generality]
that V (φ) = φ
+an−1 φ
+· · · +a1 φ+a0, i.e., V is a polynomial in its field variables.
Therefore, we know that ∆ =
(ri − rj)
, the discriminant of this polynomial, will com-
pletely determine the solutions of the theory: whether ∆ vanishes, or is positive, or is negative, we
have distinct relations among its solutions, which will affect the solution of the geodesic equation
above for V (γ) = (γ − r1) · · · (γ − rn). In particular, the ramifications at the roots of this
polynomial are related to the singularities of the Higgs Bundle that can be constructed to this
theory, making its connection to the Geometric Langlands Duality quite apparent.
Furthermore, we note that S =

˜ g
(γ, γ) dγ is known as the “energy functional” in Morse
Theory, a fact that renders our Path Integral a topological object, where the classical solution has
one given topology and its quantum corrections are “handles”attached to it. This fact realizes the
quantum corrections as a sequence of surgeries between the initial cobordism (given by the clas-
sical configuration space) and the final cobordism (given by the quantum configuration space) —
remember that cobordisms are equivalence relations between manifolds based on their boundaries.
3.2 Higgs Bundles, Langlands Duality
One of the central features of Higgs bundles is that they have continuous moduli, i.e., they come in
families parameterized by the points of a moduli space. This moduli space is described by the follow-
ing gauge theoretic equations for φ and an SU(n)-connection A compatible with the holomorphic
structure of the bundle:
FA + [φ, φ

] = 0 ;

φ = 0 ;
where FA is the curvature of A and d

φ is the anti-holomorphic part of the covariant derivative
of φ. These equations express both the flatness of an SL(n, C)-connection A+φ+φ

and the
harmonicity condition for a metric in the resulting flat bundle.
Thus, the ramifications of V (φ) (Number Theory) are related to this connection (Geometry) and
via the construction above they are also related to the distinct topology of each phase of the theory.

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