Defining stable steady-state phases of open systems


Gopalakrishnan, S. (2024). Defining stable steady-state phases of open systems. Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics.


Gopalakrishnan, Sarang. Defining stable steady-state phases of open systems. Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, May. 29, 2024,


          @misc{ scivideos_PIRSA:24050037,
            doi = {10.48660/24050037},
            url = {},
            author = {Gopalakrishnan, Sarang},
            keywords = {Quantum Information},
            language = {en},
            title = {Defining stable steady-state phases of open systems},
            publisher = {Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics},
            year = {2024},
            month = {may},
            note = {PIRSA:24050037 see, \url{}}

Sarang Gopalakrishnan Princeton University

Source RepositoryPIRSA
Talk Type Conference


The steady states of dynamical processes can exhibit stable nontrivial phases, which can also serve as fault-tolerant classical or quantum memories. For Markovian quantum (classical) dynamics, these steady states are extremal eigenvectors of the non-Hermitian operators that generate the dynamics, i.e., quantum channels (Markov chains). However, since these operators are non-Hermitian, their spectra are an unreliable guide to dynamical relaxation timescales or to stability against perturbations. We propose an alternative dynamical criterion for a steady state to be in a stable phase, which we name uniformity: informally, our criterion amounts to requiring that, under sufficiently small local perturbations of the dynamics, the unperturbed and perturbed steady states are related to one another by a finite-time dissipative evolution. We show that this criterion implies many of the properties one would want from any reasonable definition of a phase. We prove that uniformity is satisfied in a canonical classical cellular automaton, and provide numerical evidence that the gap determines the relaxation rate between nearby steady states in the same phase, a situation we conjecture holds generically whenever uniformity is satisfied. We further conjecture some sufficient conditions for a channel to exhibit uniformity and therefore stability.