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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Performance of the rigorous renormalization group for first-order phase transitions and topological phases


Expanding and improving the repertoire of numerical methods for studying quantum lattice models is an ongoing focus in many-body physics. While the density matrix renormalization group (DMRG) has been established as a practically useful algorithm for finding the ground state in one-dimensional systems, a provably efficient and accurate algorithm remained elusive until the introduction of the rigorous renormalization group (RRG) by Landau [Nat. Phys. 11, 566 (2015)1745-247310.1038/nphys3345]. In this paper, we study the accuracy and performance of a numerical implementation of RRG at first-order phase transitions and in symmetry-protected topological phases. Our study is motivated by the question of when RRG might provide a useful complement to the more established DMRG technique. In particular, despite its general utility, DMRG can give unreliable results near first-order phase transitions and in topological phases, since its local update procedure can fail to adequately explore (near-)degenerate manifolds. The rigorous theoretical underpinnings of RRG, meanwhile, suggest that it should not suffer from the same difficulties. We show this optimism is justified, and that RRG indeed determines well-ordered, accurate energies even when DMRG does not. Moreover, our performance analysis indicates that in certain circumstances seeding DMRG with states determined by coarse runs of RRG may provide an advantage over simply performing DMRG.

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