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Looking for intro to Conformal Bootstrap

+ 4 like - 0 dislike
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I want to start looking at the conformal bootstrap. I've heard very interesting things about it but would like to clear some things up first.

I taken QFT at the level of Peskin & Schroeder, written a bachelors thesis on quantum integrability, know complex analysis up to things like mobius transformations and conformal mappings, functional analysis and algebraic topology. Then stuff like EM with Jackson and QM with Merzbacher's books etc.

What resources are best for working up to the conformal bootstrap?

From what I've seen the bootstrap seems to be heavily numerical. I'm extremely used to exact analytical expressions so would like to know the use of the bootstrap, particularly in relation to N=4 SYM (recently looked through a paper on this topic but it was above my level) or even general QFT.

This post imported from StackExchange Physics at 2015-03-27 18:49 (UTC), posted by SE-user ryanp16
asked Mar 25, 2015 in Resources and References by ryanp16 (90 points) [ no revision ]
retagged Mar 27, 2015

3 Answers

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The conformal bootstrap is a program for understanding conformal field theories in $d$ dimensions in terms of their $n$-point functions for (very) small $n$.

The case $d=2$ is rather special as the representation theory of the Virasoro group and the assumption of a central charge in the discrete series drastically restricts the possibilities and allows one to explicitly construct almost everything of interest. Because of the large symmetry group, everything can be done analytically. There are many books and lecture notes on CFT treating this in some detail; in the following, I do not consider this further.

In dimensions $d=3$ (relevant for statistical physics) and $d=4$ (relevant for relativistic quantum field theory), the conformal bootstrap remained dormant for many years since it was not clear what could replace the assumption of a central charge in the discrete series. Some important older papers are by Mack & Todorov, by Osborn & Petkou,  by Nikolov, Stanev & Todorov; see also Fradkin & Palchik.

Recently, the conformal bootstrap lead to a flurry of new activity due to the discovery that at least the $d=3$ Ising CFT can be characterized as an extremal CFT according to several criteria. The assumption of extremality allows one to construct truncated optimization problems whose numerical solution gives values of unprecedented accuracy for the critical exponents of the Ising model. The central new idea was presented in a paper by El-Showk, Paulos, Poland, Rychkov, Simmons-Duffin & Vichi. In my review of this paper, the theory underlying the principle is explained.  (Almost everything else is just about computational techniques to create and numerically solve the associated optimization problems.) A recent quora discussion contains a long list of recent papers exploiting this idea.

answered Mar 30, 2015 by Arnold Neumaier (12,355 points) [ revision history ]
edited Mar 30, 2015 by Arnold Neumaier
+ 1 like - 0 dislike

Start with the lecture notes at the top of Slava Rychkov's blog, http://sites.google.com/site/slavarychkov/home

This post imported from StackExchange Physics at 2015-03-27 18:49 (UTC), posted by SE-user user1504
answered Mar 25, 2015 by user1504 (1,100 points) [ no revision ]
+ 1 like - 0 dislike

If you have not seen it yet, conformal bootstrap in $1+1$ is extremely powerful, and in many cases essentially determine the whole theory. Everything is done analytically. Recent works of higher-dimensional generalizations share many basic features with the $1+1$ version, so it seems not a bad idea to start from there.

This post imported from StackExchange Physics at 2015-03-27 18:49 (UTC), posted by SE-user Meng Cheng
answered Mar 25, 2015 by Meng (550 points) [ no revision ]

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