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A Relations between statistical physics and theoretical CS

  1. Oct 18, 2016 #1


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    Hi everyone. I wasn't sure where to post this thread, so I figured I'll post this under General Physics.

    Out of interest, I've been perusing online about connections that exist between statistical physics and theoretical computer science. For example, consider the following report by Pietro Caputo (a physicist/mathematician) and Alistair Sinclair (a theoretical computer scientist):


    This makes me think -- I'm wondering if any of you out there are aware of more collaborations between physicists and computer scientists on common research problems. Also, I'm curious to see if research in different branches of physics may have direct repercussions for research in computer science, and vice versa.
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  3. Oct 20, 2016 #2


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    I find it curious that no one here on PF has any comments at all about my post here. Is there no one here on PF who has done research in statistical physics? Is there no one here who has done research in theoretical CS?
  4. Oct 20, 2016 #3


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    You are asking a lot. We should invest the time to read the paper you linked, then respond to some really broad questions.

    I suggest that you might get better responses if you include the relevant excerpt in your question, and then try to be more specific with what you're asking.
  5. Oct 20, 2016 #4


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    anorlunda, I do see your point. The article by Caputo and Sinclair specifically examines recombination models based on random mating (models that are applied to genetic algorithms, which have been investigated by computer scientists for years) and tries to explore it in the context of quadratic dynamical systems, which the article states "provides a rich family of discrete analogues of Boltzmann's equation from statistical physics." (Caputo & Sinclair (2016), pg 2)

    I have to really dig into the technical details of the paper, but my main point is that the paper which I linked is one example of the links between the analysis of randomized algorithms (an important research field within theoretical CS) and areas of statistical physics. Which makes me think that there would be much research collaboration between physicists and theoretical computer scientists in research areas of mutual interest (one other example being quantum computing).

    And yet curiously, I see relatively little discussion I could find in any of the PF posts about such collaborative research between the two communities.
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