Structure of positive decompositions of exponential operators. Academic Article uri icon


  • The solution of many physical evolution equations can be expressed as an exponential of two or more operators acting on initial data. Accurate solutions can be systematically derived by decomposing the exponential in a product form. For time-reversible equations, such as the Hamilton or the Schrdinger equation, it is immaterial whether or not the decomposition coefficients are positive. In fact, most symplectic algorithms for solving classical dynamics contain some negative coefficients. For time-irreversible systems, such as the Fokker-Planck equation or the quantum statistical propagator, only positive-coefficient decompositions, which respect the time-irreversibility of the diffusion kernel, can yield practical algorithms. These positive time steps only, forward decompositions, are a highly effective class of factorization algorithms. This work presents a framework for understanding the structure of these algorithms. By a suitable representation of the factorization coefficients, we show that specific error terms and order conditions can be solved analytically. Using this framework, we can go beyond the Sheng-Suzuki theorem and derive a lower bound for the error coefficient e(VTV). By generalizing the framework perturbatively, we can further prove that it is not possible to have a sixth-order forward algorithm by including only the commutator [VTV] tripple bond [V, [T,V]]. The pattern of these higher-order forward algorithms is that in going from the (2n)th to the (2n+2)th order, one must include a different commutator [V T(2n-1)V] in the decomposition process.

published proceedings

  • Phys Rev E Stat Nonlin Soft Matter Phys

author list (cited authors)

  • Chin, S. A.

citation count

  • 29

complete list of authors

  • Chin, Siu A

publication date

  • January 2005