Title:

A graph theoretic approach to matrix functions and quantum dynamics

Many problems in applied mathematics and physics are formulated most naturally in terms of matrices, and can be solved by computing functions of these matrices. For example, in quantum mechanics, the coherent dynamics of physical systems is described by the matrix exponential of their Hamiltonian. In state of the art experiments, one can now observe such unitary evolution of manybody systems, which is of fundamental interest in the study of manybody quantum phenomena. On the other hand the theoretical simulation of such nonequilibrium manybody dynamics is very challenging. In this thesis, we develop a symbolic approach to matrix functions and quantum dynamics based on a novel algebraic structure we identify for sets of walks on graphs. We begin by establishing the graph theoretic equivalent to the fundamental theorem of arithmetic: all the walks on any finite digraph uniquely factorise into products of prime elements. These are the simple paths and simple cycles, walks forbidden from visiting any vertex more than once. We give an algorithm that efficiently factorises individual walks and obtain a recursive formula to factorise sets of walks. This yields a universal continued fraction representation for the formal series of all walks on digraphs. It only involves simple paths and simple cycles and is thus called a pathsum. In the second part, we recast matrix functions into pathsums. We present explicit results for a matrix raised to a complex power, the matrix exponential, matrix inverse, and matrix logarithm. We introduce generalised matrix powers which extend desirable properties of the Drazin inverse to all powers of a matrix. In the third part, we derive an intermediary form of pathsum, called walksum, relying solely on physical considerations. Walksum describes the dynamics of a quantum system as resulting from the coherent superposition of its histories, a discrete analogue to the Feynman pathintegrals. Using walksum we simulate the dynamics of quantum random walks and of Rydbergexcited Mott insulators. Using pathsum, we demonstrate manybody Anderson localisation in an interacting disordered spin system. We give two observable signatures of this phenomenon: localisation of the system magnetisation and of the linear magnetic response function. Lastly we return to the study of sets of walks. We show that one can construct as many representations of series of walks as there are ways to define a walk product such that the factorisation of a walk always exist and is unique. Illustrating this result we briefly present three further methods to evaluate functions of matrices. Regardless of the method used, we show that graphs are uniquely characterised, up to an isomorphism, by the prime walks they sustain.
