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Lecture# Variational Methods in Statistical Physics

Description

This lecture covers variational methods in statistical physics, focusing on Gibbs free entropy, cavity method, and entropy of the distribution. It also discusses the Bethe Parisi Mézard approach and the concept of concentration.

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PHYS-512: Statistical physics of computation

This course covers the statistical physics approach to computer science problems ranging from graph theory and constraint satisfaction to inference and machine learning. In particular the replica and

In physics, statistical mechanics is a mathematical framework that applies statistical methods and probability theory to large assemblies of microscopic entities. It does not assume or postulate any natural laws, but explains the macroscopic behavior of nature from the behavior of such ensembles. Sometimes called statistical physics or statistical thermodynamics, its applications include many problems in the fields of physics, biology, chemistry, and neuroscience.

In physics, specifically statistical mechanics, an ensemble (also statistical ensemble) is an idealization consisting of a large number of virtual copies (sometimes infinitely many) of a system, considered all at once, each of which represents a possible state that the real system might be in. In other words, a statistical ensemble is a set of systems of particles used in statistical mechanics to describe a single system. The concept of an ensemble was introduced by J. Willard Gibbs in 1902.

In thermodynamics, the Gibbs free energy (or Gibbs energy as the recommended name; symbol ) is a thermodynamic potential that can be used to calculate the maximum amount of work, other than pressure-volume work, that may be performed by a thermodynamically closed system at constant temperature and pressure. It also provides a necessary condition for processes such as chemical reactions that may occur under these conditions. The Gibbs free energy is expressed as where p is pressure, T is the temperature, U is the internal energy, V is volume, H is the enthalpy, and S is the entropy.

Quantum statistical mechanics is statistical mechanics applied to quantum mechanical systems. In quantum mechanics a statistical ensemble (probability distribution over possible quantum states) is described by a density operator S, which is a non-negative, self-adjoint, trace-class operator of trace 1 on the Hilbert space H describing the quantum system. This can be shown under various mathematical formalisms for quantum mechanics. One such formalism is provided by quantum logic.

A thermodynamic free entropy is an entropic thermodynamic potential analogous to the free energy. Also known as a Massieu, Planck, or Massieu–Planck potentials (or functions), or (rarely) free information. In statistical mechanics, free entropies frequently appear as the logarithm of a partition function. The Onsager reciprocal relations in particular, are developed in terms of entropic potentials. In mathematics, free entropy means something quite different: it is a generalization of entropy defined in the subject of free probability.