Thermodynamics of SU(3) Gauge Theory from Gradient Flow

Thermodynamics of Gauge Theory from Gradient Flow

Masayuki Asakawa Department of Physics, Osaka University, Toyonaka, Osaka 560-0043, Japan    Tetsuo Hatsuda Theoretical Research Division, Nishina Center, RIKEN, Wako 351-0198, Japan Kavli IPMU (WPI), The University of Tokyo, Chiba 606-8502, Japan    Etsuko Itou High Energy Accelerator Research Organisation (KEK), Tsukuba 305-0801, Japan    Masakiyo Kitazawa Department of Physics, Osaka University, Toyonaka, Osaka 560-0043, Japan    Hiroshi Suzuki Department of Physics, Kyushu University, 6-10-1 Hakozaki, Higashi-ku, Fukuoka, 812-8581, Japan

A novel method to study the bulk thermodynamics in lattice gauge theory is proposed on the basis of the Yang–Mills gradient flow with a fictitious time . The energy density  and the pressure  of gauge theory at fixed temperature are calculated directly on lattices from the thermal average of the well-defined energy-momentum tensor obtained by the gradient flow. It is demonstrated that the continuum limit can be taken in a controlled manner from the -dependence of the flowed data.

05.70.Ce; 11.10.Wx; 11.15.Ha

FlowQCD Collaboration

The symmetric energy momentum tensor (EMT), , which is the generator of the Poincaré transformations, is a fundamental operator in quantum field theory Caracciolo:1990emt (). Since , , and  correspond to the energy density, the momentum density, and the momentum-flux density, respectively, the EMT and its correlation functions provide useful information on the bulk and transport properties at finite temperature (). For example, the energy density  and the pressure  are given by  and , respectively, with  being the thermal average. Also, the shear viscosity  can be extracted from the two-point correlation, . In quantum chromodynamics (QCD), these observables are particularly important in formulating the relativistic hydrodynamics for the quark-gluon plasma Romatschke:2009im (). Therefore, high precision and non-perturbative evaluation of the -point EMT correlations in lattice QCD is called for.

To calculate such correlations in numerical lattice simulations, we first need to define proper EMT on the lattice which is ultra-violet (UV) finite and is conserved in the continuum limit. Such a construction is not a trivial task due to the explicit breaking of the Poincaré invariance on the lattice. (See Refs. Giusti:2012yj (); Robaina:2013zmb (); Giusti:2013sqa (); Giusti:2013mxa () for recent developments.) This is the reason why and  at finite  have been mainly studied by an indirect “integral method” without the explicit use of the EMT Lombardo:2012ix ().

Recently, one of the present authors has shown that the proper EMT keeping all the nice features can be naturally constructed Suzuki:2013gza () on the basis of the Yang–Mills gradient flow Luscher:2010iy (); Luscher:2011bx (); Luscher:2013vga (). (See also related works, Refs. Borsanyi:2012zs (); Borsanyi:2012zr (); Fodor:2012td (); Fritzsch:2013je (); Luscher:2013cpa ().) In this Letter, we demonstrate, for the first time, that the thermal gauge theory can be studied by the direct lattice measurement of the proper EMT by considering and as examples. The key idea is to represent the EMT in the continuum limit by UV-finite and local operators obtained from the gradient flow. Then, by taking the limit of small flow time and small lattice spacing in an appropriate way, as discussed later, accurate thermodynamic observables are obtained with modest statistics.

Let us first recapitulate the basic idea of Ref. Suzuki:2013gza () in the continuum space-time. The Yang–Mills gradient flow is a deformation of the gauge configuration along a fictitious Euclidean time ; with , where and are the covariant derivative and the field strength of the flowed gauge field , respectively. The color indices are suppressed for simplicity. A salient feature of the gradient flow is its UV finiteness: Any correlation functions of , , … for  are UV finite without the wave function renormalization if they are written in terms of the renormalized coupling Luscher:2011bx (). This is owing to the fact that the diffusion in  naturally introduces a proper-time regulator of the form , where  denotes a typical loop momentum. In particular, the correlation functions are free from UV divergences even at the equal-point, for positive . For example, the following gauge-invariant local products of dimension  are UV finite for : and .

For , local products of flowed fields can be expanded in terms of four-dimensional renormalized local operators with increasing dimensions Luscher:2011bx (): The expansion coefficients are governed by the renormalization group equation and their small behavior can be calculated by perturbation theory thanks to the asymptotic freedom. For the operators mentioned above, we have Suzuki:2013gza (); DelDebbio:2013zaa ()


where is vacuum expectation value and is the correctly-normalized conserved EMT with its vacuum expectation value subtracted. Abbreviated are the contributions from the operators of dimension  or higher, which are suppressed for small .

Combining relations Eqs. (1) and (2), we have


where the perturbative coefficients are found to be Suzuki:2013gza ()


Here denotes the running gauge coupling in the scheme with the choice, , and , , with , , and . Note that a non-perturbative determination of  is also proposed recently DelDebbio:2013zaa ().

The formula Eq. (3) indicates that can be obtained by the small limit of the gauge-invariant local operators defined through the gradient flow. There are two important observations: (i) The right-hand side of Eq. (3) is independent of the regularization because of its UV finiteness, so that one can take, e.g. the lattice regularization scheme; (ii) since flowed fields at  depend on the fundamental fields at  in the space-time region of radius , the statistical noise in calculating the right hand side of Eq. (3) is suppressed for finite .

Our procedure to calculate the EMT on the lattice has the following four steps:
Step 1: Generate gauge configurations at  on a space-time lattice with the lattice spacing  and the lattice size .
Step 2: Solve the gradient flow for each configuration to obtain the flowed link variables in the fiducial window, . Here,  is an infrared cutoff scale such as  or . The first (second) inequality is necessary to suppress finite corrections (non-perturbative corrections and finite volume corrections).
Step 3: Construct and  in Eqs. (1) and (2) in terms of the flowed link variables and average over the gauge configurations at each .
Step 4: Carry out an extrapolation toward , first and then under the condition in Step 2.

The thermodynamic quantities are obtained from the diagonal elements of the EMT: A combination of and  called the interaction measure  is related to the trace of the EMT (the trace anomaly):


Also, the entropy density  at zero chemical potential reads


To demonstrate that the above four Steps can be indeed pursued, we consider the gauge theory defined on a four-dimensional Euclidean lattice, whose thermodynamics has been extensively studied by the integral method Boyd:1996bx (); Okamoto:1999hi (); Umeda:2008bd (); Borsanyi:2012ve (). For simplicity, we consider the Wilson plaquette gauge action under the periodic boundary condition on  lattices with several different ( being the bare coupling constant). Gauge configurations are generated by the pseudo-heatbath algorithm with the over-relaxation, mixed in the ratio of . We call one pseudo-heatbath update sweep plus five over-relaxation sweeps as a “Sweep”. To eliminate the autocorrelation, we take Sweeps between measurements. The number of gauge configurations for the measurements at finite  is . Statistical errors are estimated by the jackknife method.

6 8 10
6.20 6.40 6.56 1.65
6.02 6.20 6.36 1.24
5.89 6.06 6.20 0.99
Table 1: Values of and  for each temperature.

To relate and corresponding for each , we first use the relation between ( is the Sommer scale) and  given by the ALPHA Collaboration Guagnelli:1998ud (). The resultant values of are then converted to  by using the result at  in Ref. Boyd:1996bx (). Nine combinations of  and corresponding obtained by this procedure are shown in Table 1.

The gradient flow in the -direction is obtained by solving the ordinary first-order differential equation. We utilize the modified second-order Runge–Kutta method in which the error per step () is . We take , and confirm that the accumulation errors are sufficiently smaller than the statistical errors.

To extract the EMT from Eq. (3), we measure written in terms of the clover leaf representation on the lattice. To subtract out the contribution, , we carry out simulations on a lattice for each  in Table 1. Note that this vacuum subtraction is required for the trace anomaly , but not for the entropy density . For  in and  in Eqs. (4) and (5), we use the four-loop running coupling with the scale parameter determined by the ALPHA Collaboration,  Capitani:1998mq (). We confirmed the previous finding Luscher:2010iy () that the lattice data of in the fiducial window matches quite well with its perturbative estimate in the continuum, with the four-loop running coupling and the above .

Figure 1: Flow time dependence of the dimensionless interaction measure (top panel) and the dimensionless entropy density (bottom panel) for different lattice spacings at fixed . The circles (red) the squares (blue), and the diamonds (black) correspond to , , and , respectively. The bold error bars denote the statistical errors, while the thin error bars (brown, cyan, and magenta) include both statistical and systematic errors.

Shown in Fig. 1 is our results for the dimensionless interaction measure () and the dimensionless entropy density () at  as a function of the dimensionless flow parameter . The bold bars denote the statistical errors, while the thin (light color) bars show the statistical and systematic errors including the uncertainty of . In the small region, the statistical error is dominant for both and , while in the large region the systematic error from  becomes significant for . For instance, the statistical (systematic) errors of the data for are () for and () for at .

The fiducial window discussed in Step 2 is indicated by the dashed lines in Fig. 1. The lower limit, beyond which the lattice discretization error grows, is set to be , where we consider the size  of our clover leaf operator. The upper limit, beyond which the smearing by the gradient flow exceeds the temporal lattice size, is set to be .

The data in Fig. 1 show, within the error bars, that (i) the plateau appears inside the preset fiducial window () for each , and (ii) the plateau extends to the smaller  region as increases or equivalently as decreases. Similar plateaus as in Fig. 1 also appear inside the fiducial window for other temperatures, and , with comparable error bars. These features imply that the double extrapolation in Step 4 is indeed doable.

Figure 2: Continuum extrapolation of the thermodynamic quantities for , , and . Solid lines and dashed lines correspond to the three-point linear fit and two-point constant fit as a function of , respectively. Extrapolated values of the former (latter) are shown at  (). The cross symbols in the top panel are the data of Ref. Boyd:1996bx () with the same lattice setup.

Our lattice results at fixed  with three different lattice spacings allow us to take the continuum limit. First, we pick up a flow time which is in the middle of the fiducial window. Then we extract and  for each set of  and . We have checked that different choices of  do not change the final results within the error bar as long as it is in the plateau region. In Fig. 2, resultant values taking into account the statistical errors (bold error bars) and the statistical plus systematic errors (thin error bars) are shown. The lattice data for  with the same lattice setup at  and  in Ref. Boyd:1996bx () are also shown by the cross (green) symbols in the top panel; the statistical error of our result on lattice for () is about () times smaller than the one in Ref. Boyd:1996bx () obtained on the same lattice. In this way, our results with gauge configurations have substantially smaller error bars at these points.

The horizontal axis of Fig. 2, , is a variable suited for making continuum extrapolation of the thermodynamic quantities Boyd:1996bx (). We consider two extrapolation: A linear fit with the data at , , and  (the solid lines in Fig. 2), and a constant fit with the data at  and  (the dashed lines in Fig. 2). In both fits, the correlation between the errors due to the common systematic error from  is taken into account. The former fit is used to determine the central value in the continuum limit whose error is within  even at our lowest temperature. The latter is used to estimate the systematic error from the scaling violation whose typical size is  at high temperature and  at low temperature.

We have analyzed various systematic errors; the perturbative expansion of , the running coupling , the scale parameter, and the continuum extrapolation. We found that the dominant errors in the present lattice setup are those from  and the continuum extrapolation, which are included in Fig. 2. To reduce these systematic errors, finer lattices are quite helpful: They make the plateau in  wider by reducing the lower limit of the fiducial window, so that the continuum extrapolation becomes easier. We also note that our continuum extrapolation with fixed would receive the finite volume effect especially for lower Borsanyi:2012zs (). Larger aspect ratio would be helpful to guarantee the thermodynamic limit. Moreover, the scale setting procedure could be improved to have better accuracy: Instead of the Sommer scale  adopted in this Letter, more precise scale determination, e.g. by  or  in the gradient flow approach Luscher:2010iy (); Fodor:2012td (), will be useful.

Figure 3: Continuum limit of the interaction measure and entropy density obtained by the gradient flow for , , and  with gauge configurations. The magenta, green, and blue data are the results of the integral method according to Ref. Boyd:1996bx (); Okamoto:1999hi (); Borsanyi:2012ve (), respectively

Finally, we plot, in Fig. 3, the continuum limit of  and  obtained by the linear fit of the , , and  data (the solid lines) in Fig. 2 for , , and . For comparison, the results of Ref. Boyd:1996bx (); Okamoto:1999hi (); Borsanyi:2012ve () obtained by the integral method are shown by the magenta, green, and blue data in Fig. 3. The results of the two different approaches are consistent with each other within the statistical error.

In this Letter, we have proposed and demonstrated a novel way to study thermal gauge theory on the lattice. The key ingredient is the conserved and UV-finite energy-momentum tensor  defined from the the UV-finite operators ( and ) obtained from the Yang–Mills gradient flow with the matching coefficients (Suzuki:2013gza (). From the simulations on  lattices with modest statistics ( gauge configurations), we found that the dimensionless interaction measure and entropy density, and , show plateau structure inside the fiducial window () with small statistical errors, so that the double extrapolation  can be taken appropriately for given .

Major advantages of the gradient flow applied to the lattice thermodynamics are as follows: (i) One can simulate and  independently at any fixed  through the direct measurement of the well-defined EMT. There is no need of integration by  or , which requires a boundary condition and the numerical interpolation. (ii) There is no need of constant subtraction in entropy density . The interaction measure  needs one subtraction of its value, which is obtained by the accurate measurement of  or by its perturbative evaluation at small . (iii) The statistical noise is substantially reduced at finite flow time  due to the effective smearing of the operators with the radius , so that the extrapolation of the results back to  is well under control.

Although we studied only the thermal average of EMT in this Letter, there is no conceptual difficulties in applying our method to -point EMT correlations  Suzuki:2013gza (). This opens the door to investigate transport coefficients (such as shear and bulk viscosities), fluctuation observables in the hot plasma, glueballs at zero and finite temperatures. Here we note that there is no difficulty in measuring thermodynamic quantities even at extremely high temperature in this method since no temperature integration is necessary. It is also an interesting direction to study the dilation mode or the -function of (nearly) conformal theory Appelquist:2010gy (); Latorre:1997ea () using the present method. Furthermore, including fermions in the present framework extends the scope even further Makino-Suzuki (). Some of these issues as well as the simulations with finer lattice with larger volume are already started and will be reported elsewhere.

We would like to thank S. Aoki, F. Karsch, M. Lüscher, and H. Nagatani for useful discussions and comments. We are also grateful to H. Matsufuru for his help of the code development. Numerical simulation was carried out on NEC SX-8R and SX-9 at RCNP, Osaka University, and Hitachi SR16000 at KEK under its Large-Scale Simulation Program (Nos. T12-04 and 13/14-20). M. A., M. K., and H. S. are supported in part by a Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Researches 23540307, 25800148, and 23540330, respectively. E. I. is supported in part by Strategic Programs for Innovative Research (SPIRE) Field 5. T. H. is supported by RIKEN iTHES Project.


  • (1) S. Caracciolo, G. Curci, P. Menotti and A. Pelissetto, Annals Phys. 197, 119 (1990).
  • (2) Reviewed in, P. Romatschke, Int. J. Mod. Phys. E 19, 1 (2010) [arXiv:0902.3663 [hep-ph]].
  • (3) L. Giusti and H. B. Meyer, JHEP 1301, 140 (2013) [arXiv:1211.6669 [hep-lat]].
  • (4) D. Robaina and H. B. Meyer, arXiv:1310.6075 [hep-lat].
  • (5) L. Giusti and H. B. Meyer, arXiv:1310.7818 [hep-lat].
  • (6) L. Giusti and M. Pepe, arXiv:1311.1012 [hep-lat].
  • (7) Reviewed in, M. P. Lombardo, PoS LATTICE 2012, 016 (2012) [arXiv:1301.7324 [hep-lat]].
  • (8) H. Suzuki, PTEP 2013, no. 8, 083B03 (2013) [Erratum: PTEP 2015, no. 7, 079201 (2015)] [arXiv:1304.0533 [hep-lat]].
  • (9) M. Lüscher, JHEP 1008, 071 (2010) [arXiv:1006.4518 [hep-lat]].
  • (10) M. Lüscher and P. Weisz, JHEP 1102, 051 (2011) [arXiv:1101.0963 [hep-th]].
  • (11) Reviewed in, M. Lüscher, arXiv:1308.5598 [hep-lat].
  • (12) S. Borsanyi, S. Dürr, Z. Fodor, C. Hoelbling, S. D. Katz, S. Krieg, T. Kurth and L. Lellouch et al., JHEP 1209, 010 (2012) [arXiv:1203.4469 [hep-lat]].
  • (13) S. Borsanyi, S. Dürr, Z. Fodor, S. D. Katz, S. Krieg, T. Kurth, S. Mages and A. Schäfer et al., arXiv:1205.0781 [hep-lat].
  • (14) Z. Fodor, K. Holland, J. Kuti, D. Nogradi and C. H. Wong, JHEP 1211, 007 (2012) [arXiv:1208.1051 [hep-lat]].
  • (15) P. Fritzsch and A. Ramos, JHEP 1310, 008 (2013) [arXiv:1301.4388 [hep-lat]].
  • (16) M. Lüscher, JHEP 1304, 123 (2013) [arXiv:1302.5246 [hep-lat]].
  • (17) L. Del Debbio, A. Patella and A. Rago, JHEP 1311, 212 (2013) [arXiv:1306.1173 [hep-th]].
  • (18) G. Boyd, J. Engels, F. Karsch, E. Laermann, C. Legeland, M. Lutgemeier and B. Petersson, Nucl. Phys. B 469, 419 (1996) [hep-lat/9602007].
  • (19) M. Okamoto et al. [CP-PACS Collaboration], Phys. Rev. D 60, 094510 (1999) [hep-lat/9905005]; Y. Namekawa et al. [CP-PACS Collaboration], Phys. Rev. D 64, 074507 (2001).
  • (20) T. Umeda, S. Ejiri, S. Aoki, T. Hatsuda, K. Kanaya, Y. Maezawa and H. Ohno, Phys. Rev. D 79, 051501 (2009) [arXiv:0809.2842 [hep-lat]].
  • (21) S. Borsanyi, G. Endrodi, Z. Fodor, S. D. Katz and K. K. Szabo, JHEP 1207, 056 (2012) [arXiv:1204.6184 [hep-lat]].
  • (22) M. Guagnelli et al. [ALPHA Collaboration], Nucl. Phys. B 535, 389 (1998) [hep-lat/9806005].
  • (23) S. Capitani et al. [ALPHA Collaboration], Nucl. Phys. B 544, 669 (1999) [hep-lat/9810063].
  • (24) T. Appelquist and Y. Bai, Phys. Rev. D 82, 071701 (2010) [arXiv:1006.4375 [hep-ph]].
  • (25) J. I. Latorre and H. Osborn, Nucl. Phys. B 511, 737 (1998) [hep-th/9703196].
  • (26) H. Makino and H. Suzuki, PTEP 2014, no. 6, 063B02 (2014) [Erratum: PTEP 2015, no. 7, 079202 (2015)] [arXiv:1403.4772 [hep-lat]].
Comments 0
Request Comment
You are adding the first comment!
How to quickly get a good reply:
  • Give credit where it’s due by listing out the positive aspects of a paper before getting into which changes should be made.
  • Be specific in your critique, and provide supporting evidence with appropriate references to substantiate general statements.
  • Your comment should inspire ideas to flow and help the author improves the paper.

The better we are at sharing our knowledge with each other, the faster we move forward.
The feedback must be of minimum 40 characters and the title a minimum of 5 characters
Add comment
Loading ...
This is a comment super asjknd jkasnjk adsnkj
The feedback must be of minumum 40 characters
The feedback must be of minumum 40 characters

You are asking your first question!
How to quickly get a good answer:
  • Keep your question short and to the point
  • Check for grammar or spelling errors.
  • Phrase it like a question
Test description