Quantum statistical calculations and symplectic corrector algorithms. Academic Article uri icon


  • The quantum partition function at finite temperature requires computing the trace of the imaginary time propagator. For numerical and Monte Carlo calculations, the propagator is usually split into its kinetic and potential parts. A higher-order splitting will result in a higher-order convergent algorithm. At imaginary time, the kinetic energy propagator is usually the diffusion Green's function. Since diffusion cannot be simulated backward in time, the splitting must maintain the positivity of all intermediate time steps. However, since the trace is invariant under similarity transformations of the propagator, one can use this freedom to "correct" the split propagator to higher order. This use of similarity transforms classically gives rise to symplectic corrector algorithms. The split propagator is the symplectic kernel and the similarity transformation is the corrector. This work proves a generalization of the Sheng-Suzuki theorem: no positive time step propagators with only kinetic and potential operators can be corrected beyond second order. Second-order forward propagators can have fourth-order traces only with the inclusion of an additional commutator. We give detailed derivations of four forward correctable second-order propagators and their minimal correctors.

published proceedings

  • Phys Rev E Stat Nonlin Soft Matter Phys

author list (cited authors)

  • Chin, S. A.

citation count

  • 35

complete list of authors

  • Chin, Siu A

publication date

  • April 2004