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Concept# Lattice QCD

Summary

Lattice QCD is a well-established non-perturbative approach to solving the quantum chromodynamics (QCD) theory of quarks and gluons. It is a lattice gauge theory formulated on a grid or lattice of points in space and time. When the size of the lattice is taken infinitely large and its sites infinitesimally close to each other, the continuum QCD is recovered.
Analytic or perturbative solutions in low-energy QCD are hard or impossible to obtain due to the highly nonlinear nature of the strong force and the large coupling constant at low energies. This formulation of QCD in discrete rather than continuous spacetime naturally introduces a momentum cut-off at the order 1/a, where a is the lattice spacing, which regularizes the theory. As a result, lattice QCD is mathematically well-defined. Most importantly, lattice QCD provides a framework for investigation of non-perturbative phenomena such as confinement and quark–gluon plasma formation, which are intractable by means of analytic field theories.
In lattice QCD, fields representing quarks are defined at lattice sites (which leads to fermion doubling), while the gluon fields are defined on the links connecting neighboring sites. This approximation approaches continuum QCD as the spacing between lattice sites is reduced to zero. Because the computational cost of numerical simulations can increase dramatically as the lattice spacing decreases, results are often extrapolated to a = 0 by repeated calculations at different lattice spacings a that are large enough to be tractable.
Numerical lattice QCD calculations using Monte Carlo methods can be extremely computationally intensive, requiring the use of the largest available supercomputers. To reduce the computational burden, the so-called quenched approximation can be used, in which the quark fields are treated as non-dynamic "frozen" variables. While this was common in early lattice QCD calculations, "dynamical" fermions are now standard. These simulations typically utilize algorithms based upon molecular dynamics or microcanonical ensemble algorithms.

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Lattice QCD

Lattice QCD is a well-established non-perturbative approach to solving the quantum chromodynamics (QCD) theory of quarks and gluons. It is a lattice gauge theory formulated on a grid or lattice of points in space and time. When the size of the lattice is taken infinitely large and its sites infinitesimally close to each other, the continuum QCD is recovered. Analytic or perturbative solutions in low-energy QCD are hard or impossible to obtain due to the highly nonlinear nature of the strong force and the large coupling constant at low energies.

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In mathematical physics, a lattice model is a mathematical model of a physical system that is defined on a lattice, as opposed to a continuum, such as the continuum of space or spacetime. Lattice models originally occurred in the context of condensed matter physics, where the atoms of a crystal automatically form a lattice. Currently, lattice models are quite popular in theoretical physics, for many reasons. Some models are exactly solvable, and thus offer insight into physics beyond what can be learned from perturbation theory.

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