• Apr 15 2013

    Equilibration and Thermalization in Quantum Systems

    Stellenbosch Workshop on


    Conference week: 15 - 19 April 2013
    Additional workshop week: 22 - 26 April 2013 (optional)


    National Institute for Theoretical Physics, Wallenberg Research Centre, Stellenbosch, South Africa.


    Recent progress in manipulating cold atoms and ions has brought the study of non-equilibrium behavior of isolated quantum systems into the focus of research. This workshop aims at bringing together researchers from a variety of fields related to this topic, including quantum information, statistical physics, mathematical physics, cold atoms and condensed matter physics. See further below for a more detailed description of topics covered by this workshop.


    A (1+1)-week workshop. During the first week there will be 6 talks of 45min each per day, with an extended lunch break of 3 hours in between, giving ample opportunities for discussions. All participants are expected to stay at least for the first week of the workshop. The second week is intended for a smaller group of people. Offices will be available for the participants in the second week and, apart from 1 or 2 talks per day, the rest of the time will be available for discussions, collaborations, or individual work as participants see fit.


    Detailed Programme

    Invited Speakers:

    Mari-Carmen Bañuls (Garching)
    John Bollinger (NIST Boulder)
    Marc Cheneau (Garching/Palaiseau)
    Marcus Cramer (Ulm)
    Christian Gogolin (FU Berlin)
    Massimo Inguscio (Florence)
    Stefan Kehrein (München)
    Hanns-Christoph Nägerl (Innsbruck)
    Anatoli Polkovnikov (Boston)
    Peter Reimann (Bielefeld)
    Renato Renner (ETH Zürich)
    Arnau Riera (FU Berlin)
    Marcos Rigol (Penn State)
    Wojciech de Roeck (Heidelberg)
    Jörg Schmiedmayer (Wien)
    Ulrich Schollwöck (München)
    Anthony Short (Cambridge)
    Alessandro Silva (Trieste)
    Stephanie Wehner (Singapore)


    Registration is closed.


    Prof. Jens Eisert (Freie Universität Berlin, Germany), jense[at]physik.fu-berlin.de,

    Prof Michael Kastner (National Institute for Theoretical Physics, South Africa), kastner[at]sun.ac.za, +27-(0)21-808-3863

    Dr Izak Snyman (University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa), izaksnyman1(at)gmail.com, +27-(0)11-717-6959


    National Institute for Theoretical Physics, South Africa
    EU-Project Q-Essence
    Stellenbosch University, South Africa
    Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP)

    Topics covered by this workshop:

    How do quantum many-body systems equilibrate, once they have been pushed out of equilibrium? In what way do the familiar ensembles of statistical mechanics dynamically emerge? How does temperature appear? How can the old puzzle of the exact relationship between statistical physics and dynamical approaches be precisely resolved? And how is the relationship of these considerations to the study of thermal machines on the quantum level?

    These are by no means new questions: Notably, von Neumann already commented in 1929 on the question of equilibration in a remarkably insightful article. Still, four recent developments seem to have led to an explosive revival of interest in quantum many-body systems out of equilibrium:

    1. Cold atoms provide an experimental platform to probe questions of non-equilibrium physics with an unprecedented degree of control. In particular, architectures based on cold atom in optical lattices and optical super-lattices, together with the appropriate use of Feshbach resonances, allow for the precise quantum simulation of strongly correlated quantum many-body dynamics out of equilibrium. Atoms on chips give rise to a complementary platform, allowing to probe continuous quantum many-body systems in a precise way.

    2. New numerical methods also open up new avenues for study. This is particularly true for techniques based on matrix product states and other variational techniques deriving from tensor product states, which allow for keeping track of intricate dynamics of strongly correlated systems at least for short and intermediate times. Exact diagonalization techniques pushed to larger system sizes provide complementing information, for example on the extent to which the eigenstate thermalization hypothesis is valid.

    3. Ideas of condensed matter physics enter the discussion of strongly correlated systems quenched out of equilibrium in a fresh way, with the precise role of integrability in thermalization, of glassy properties in quantum many-body systems, of quantum phase transitions, or of Landau Zener physics, to name just four of them, being reconsidered.

    4. Finally, ideas of mathematical physics give new impetus to the field, with advanced methods of concentration of measure, non-commutative central limit theorems, and quantum information propagation featuring here. Some of these ideas are inspired by quantum information theory, offering tools to address some of the above questions in a rigorous fashion.

    This workshop aims at bridging the gap between the communities of these four research fields, in order to facilitate a cross-fertilization between the fields. It is the hope that this workshop can help to overcome language barriers between people working in these very much related and yet in vocabulary sometimes rather different fields of study, ranging from experimental to theoretical work, from mathematical approaches to those of condensed matter physics. Ample time will be scheduled for informal discussions and joint work.