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Anatomy of a spin: The information-theoretic structure of classical spin systems

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© 2017 by the authors. Collective organization in matter plays a significant role in its expressed physical properties. Typically, it is detected via an order parameter, appropriately defined for each given system's observed emergent patterns. Recent developments in information theory, however, suggest quantifying collective organization in a system- and phenomenon-agnostic way: decomposing the system's thermodynamic entropy density into a localized entropy, that is solely contained in the dynamics at a single location, and a bound entropy, that is stored in space as domains, clusters, excitations, or other emergent structures. As a concrete demonstration, we compute this decomposition and related quantities explicitly for the nearest-neighbor Ising model on the 1D chain, on the Bethe lattice with coordination number k = 3, and on the 2D square lattice, illustrating its generality and the functional insights it gives near and away from phase transitions. In particular, we consider the roles that different spin motifs play (in cluster bulk, cluster edges, and the like) and how these affect the dependencies between spins.

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