Lecture "Analytical and Numerical Methods for Quantum Many-Body Systems from a Quantum Information Perspective" (winter term 2012/13)

Lecturer: Norbert Schuch


Strongly correlated quantum many-body systems, i.e. those in which quantum correlations play an important role, exhibit many exciting phenomena such as superconductivity, the fractional quantum Hall effect, or topological order. In this lecture, we will discuss how to use quantum information concepts - in particular the theory of entanglement - to better understand those systems.

The focus of the lecture will be on Tensor Network methods (in particular Matrix Product States, PEPS, and MERA) which form a framework to describe correlated quantum many-body systems by capturing their entanglement properties, and which have proven to be very useful both analytically and numerically (e.g. in the Density Matrix Renormalization Group [DMRG] method). However, we will also discuss other quantum information aspects of quantum many-body systems, such as aspects of topological order, or the propagation of information and Lieb-Robinson bounds.

While there will be certain “core topics” in the lecture, the exact selection of topics - in particular also the balance between analytical and numerical aspects - will be adjusted depending on the interest of the audience.


A thorough background in quantum mechanics is required. Familiarity with topics in quantum many-body physics and quantum information theory is not necessary, but certainly useful.


Lecture notes

Lecture 1 (12.10.): Quantum many-body systems and models
Lecture 2 (19.10.): Entanglement theory, the area law
Lecture 3 (26.10.): Matrix Product States
Lecture 4 (  2.11.): Properties of Matrix Product States: Evaluation of expectation values and scaling of correlations
Lecture 5 (  9.11.): Variational minimization over MPS (the DMRG algorithm)
Lecture 6 (16.11.): MPS simulations for periodic boundary conditions, excited states, and time evolution
Lecture 7 (23.11.): more on time evolution, Schmidt decomposition and truncation of bond dimension, entanglement scaling and approximability
Lecture 8 (30.11.): The AKLT model, parent Hamiltonians
Lecture 9 (  6.12.): Parent Hamiltonians for MPS: Uniqueness of the ground state and gap
Lecture 10 (14.12.): Projected Entangled Pair States (PEPS)
Lecture 11 (21.12.): The Multi-scale entanglement renormalization ansatz (MERA)
Lecture 12 (  10.1.): Measurement based quantum computation
Lecture 13 (  11.1.): Computational complexity and many-body systems: Classical complexity
Lecture 14 (  31.1.): Fermionic tensor networks
Lecture 15 (    1.2.): Quantum complexity of many-body systems

Exercise sheets

Further reading

Organisatorial issues

The lecture takes place Friday 11:45-13:15 in 26C401.
The tutorials are bi-weekly Friday 15:15-16:45 in 26C401, starting Nov. 2nd.

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions concerning the lecture.