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Tensor Network Representation of Many-Body Quantum States and Unitary Operators


Shukla, Sujeet Kumar (2018) Tensor Network Representation of Many-Body Quantum States and Unitary Operators. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/Z9DF6PDB.


Understanding many-body quantum systems is one of the most challenging problems in contemporary condensed-matter physics. Tensor network representation of quantum states and operators are taking central stage in this pursuit and beyond. They prove to be a powerful numerical and conceptual tool, and indeed a new language altogether. This thesis investigates various aspects of these representations by focusing on two specific problems: the first half of the thesis is devoted to examining how 'stable' a tensor network representation is for two-dimensional quantum states with topological order, and the second half explores the representability of various unitary loop operators with tensor networks.

In the numerical usage of the tensor networks, the tensor is varied as to find the representation of the ground states of the given Hamiltonian. In chapter two and three of this thesis we show that such a numerical program for topological phases can be 'ill-posed'. We show that tensor network can be an unstable representation for a topological phase: even an infinitesimal variation in the representation results in the loss of topological order, completely or partially. We diagnose this problem by identifying the exact causes of this instability, and find that it is only tensor variations in certain directions that result in instability, because they result in the condensation of bosonic quasi-particles of the phase. Such unstable variations are characterized by two properties: (1) they can replace a tensor in the tensor network without making the network collapse, and (2) their presence in the network represents the presence of a non-trivial topological charge. We prove that the general tensor representation of all string-net models suffer with such instabilities. We propose an exact mathematical operator to project out all such unstable variations and show its efficacy for a few models by direct calculations. Such an operator can be useful in numerical programs involving such tensor representations. We also point out that such variations play a crucial role in simulating topological phase transitions and their presence can be vital in an accurate simulation.

In chapter four and five of this thesis we focus on the representability of unitary loop operators by tensor networks. Such operators not only provide an important tool in the study of dynamical process in one-dimensional systems, but also in understanding and classification of symmetry protected topological phases in two dimensions. To characterize all such operators, we find a necessary and sufficient condition for any loop tensor network operator of a given length to represent a unitary operator. In particular, it is shown that all unitary operators that map local operators to local operators (locality-preserving) can always be represented by a tensor network. Locality-preserving unitary loop operators are classified by a rational index called the GNVW index defined in Ref. [1] which measures how much information 'flows' along the loop. We define Rank-Ratio index for tensor network operators and show that it is completely equivalent to the GNVW index. Therefore, GNVW index of a unitary operator can be easily extracted from its tensor network representation. We find that, other than representing locality-preserving unitary maps, tensor networks can also represent unitary operators that map local operators to global (non-local) operators. These tensor network operators are found to have a long-ranged order similar to tensors that represent topological tensor network states in two dimensions.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:tensor network; quantum physics; topological phases
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Physics, Mathematics and Astronomy
Major Option:Physics
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Preskill, John P.
Group:IQIM, Institute for Quantum Information and Matter
Thesis Committee:
  • Chen, Xie (chair)
  • Preskill, John P.
  • Brandao, Fernando
  • Vidick, Thomas Georges
Defense Date:21 July 2017
Non-Caltech Author Email:shuklasujeetk (AT)
Record Number:CaltechTHESIS:09122017-161101236
Persistent URL:
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription adapted for Chapter 4. adapted for Chapters 2 and 3.
Shukla, Sujeet Kumar0000-0002-4283-536X
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:10432
Deposited By: Sujeet Shukla
Deposited On:25 Sep 2017 22:43
Last Modified:13 Jul 2018 22:24

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