Efficient algorithm for approximating one-dimensional ground states

Dorit Aharonov*, Itai Arad, Sandy Irani

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


The density-matrix renormalization-group method is very effective at finding ground states of one-dimensional (1D) quantum systems in practice, but it is a heuristic method, and there is no known proof for when it works. In this article we describe an efficient classical algorithm which provably finds a good approximation of the ground state of 1D systems under well-defined conditions. More precisely, our algorithm finds a matrix product state of bond dimension D whose energy approximates the minimal energy such states can achieve. The running time is exponential in D, and so the algorithm can be considered tractable even for D, which is logarithmic in the size of the chain. The result also implies trivially that the ground state of any local commuting Hamiltonian in 1D can be approximated efficiently; we improve this to an exact algorithm.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number012315
JournalPhysical Review A - Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics
Issue number1
StatePublished - 16 Jul 2010


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