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Quantum Quench and Universal Scaling  

Sumit R. Das

A quantum quench is a process in which a parameter of a many-body system or quantum field theory is changed in time, taking an initial stationary state into a complicated excited state. Traditionally “quench” refers to a process where this time dependence is fast compared to all scales in the problem. However in recent years the terminology has been generalized to include smooth changes that are slow compared to initial scales in the problem, but become fast compared to the physical scales at some later time, leading to a breakdown of adiabatic evolution. Quantum quench has been recently used as a theoretical tool to study many aspects of nonequilibrium physics like thermalization and universal aspects of critical dynamics. Relatively recent experiments in cold atom systems have implemented such quench protocols, which explore dynamical passages through critical points, and study in detail the process of relaxation to a steady state. On the other hand, quenches which remain adiabatic have been explored as a useful technique in quantum computation.


Strange Metals and Black Holes: Insights From the Sachdev-Ye-Kitaev Model  

Subir Sachdev

Complex many-particle quantum entanglement is a central theme in two distinct major topics in physics: the strange metal state found in numerous correlated electron compounds and the quantum theory of black holes in Einstein gravity. The Sachdev-Ye-Kitaev model provides a solvable theory of entangled many-particle quantum states without quasiparticle excitations. This toy model has led to realistic universal models of strange metals and to new insights on the quantum states of black holes.


The Conformal Bootstrap  

Miguel Fernandes Paulos

Conformal field theories (CFTs) have a wide range of experimental and theoretical applications. They describe classical and quantum critical phenomena, low (or high) energy limits of quantum field theories, and even quantum gravity via the Anti-de Sitter space/CFT correspondence (AdS/CFT). Most interesting, CFTs are strongly interacting and difficult to analyze. The Conformal Bootstrap program is an approach that exploits only basic consistency conditions of CFTs, such as unitarity, locality, and symmetry, encoded into a set of bootstrap equations. The hope is that such conditions might be strong enough to uniquely determine the full set of consistent theories. This philosophy was first used successfuly in the 1980s to analytically determine and classify large classes of critical phenomena in two spatial dimensions. Starting from 2008, major developments have allowed the exploration of CFTs in more general spacetime dimension. The key breakthrough was to realize that one could exploit methods from linear and semidefinite optimization theory to analyze the bootstrap equations and obtain strong, universal constraints on the space of CFTs. The Conformal Bootstrap has led to a number of important results in the study of CFTs. One of the main outcomes consists of general bounds on the data defining a CFT, such as critical exponents and operator–product expansion coefficients. This has been done for a number of contexts, such as different space-time dimensions, global symmetry groups, and various amounts of supersymmetry. More remarkably, this approach not only leads to general results on the space of theories but is also powerful enough to give extremely precise determinations of the properties of specific models, such as the critical exponents of the critical 3d Ising and O(2) models. Finally the conformal-bootstrap program also includes the formal study and non-perturbative definition of CFTs and their observables. These include not only the study of Euclidean correlation functions but also a study of their properties in Lorentzian signature; the study of defects, interfaces, and boundary conditions; finite temperature; and connections to the AdS/CFT correspondence.