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Learning nonequilibrium statistical mechanics and dynamical phase transitions

Ying TangJing LiuJiang ZhangPan Zhang
Feb 2024
Nonequilibrium statistical mechanics exhibit a variety of complex phenomena far from equilibrium. It inherits challenges of equilibrium, including accurately describing the joint distribution of a large number of configurations, and also poses new challenges as the distribution evolves over time. Characterizing dynamical phase transitions as an emergent behavior further requires tracking nonequilibrium systems under a control parameter. While a number of methods have been proposed, such as tensor networks for one-dimensional lattices, we lack a method for arbitrary time beyond the steady state and for higher dimensions. Here, we develop a general computational framework to study the time evolution of nonequilibrium systems in statistical mechanics by leveraging variational autoregressive networks, which offer an efficient computation on the dynamical partition function, a central quantity for discovering the phase transition. We apply the approach to prototype models of nonequilibrium statistical mechanics, including the kinetically constrained models of structural glasses up to three dimensions. The approach uncovers the active-inactive phase transition of spin flips, the dynamical phase diagram, as well as new scaling relations. The result highlights the potential of machine learning dynamical phase transitions in nonequilibrium systems.
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