Hello from Kobe, where I am attending the Lattice 2015 conference. The trip here was uneventful, as was the jetlag-day.
The conference started yesterday evening with a reception in the Kobe Animal Kingdom (there were no animals when we were there, though, with the exception of some fish in a pond and some cats in a cage, but there were lot of plants).
Today, the scientific programme began with the first plenary session. After a welcome address by Akira Ukawa, who reminded us of the previous lattice meetings held in Japan and the tremendous progress the field has made in the intervening twelve years, Leonardo Giusti gave the first plenary talk, speaking about recent progress on chiral symmetry breaking. Lattice results have confirmed the proportionality of the square of the pion mass to the quark mass (i.e. the Gell-Mann-Oakes-Renner (GMOR) relation, a hallmark of chiral symmetry breaking) very accurately for a long time. Another relation involving the chiral condensate is the Banks-Casher relation, which relates it to the eigenvalue density of the Dirac operator at zero. It can be shown that the eigenvalue density is renormalizable, and that thus the mode number in a given interval is renormalization-group invariant. Two recent lattice studies, one with twisted-mass fermions and one with O(a)-improved Wilson fermions, confirm the Banks-Casher relation, with the chiral condensates found agreeing very well with those inferred from GMOR. Another relation is the Witten-Veneziano relation, which relates the η' mass to the topological susceptibility, thus explaining how precisely the η' is not a Goldstone boson. The topological charge on the lattice can be defined through the index of the Neuberger operator or through chain of spectral porjectors, but a recently invented and much cheaper definition is through the topological charge density at finite flow time in Lüscher's Wilson flow formalism. The renormalization properties of the Wilson flow allow for a derivation of the universality of the topological susceptibility, and numerical tests using all three definitions indeed agree within errors in the continuum limit. Higher cumulants determined in the Wilson flow formalism agree with large-Nc predictions in pure Yang-Mills, and the suppression of the topological susceptibility in QCD relative to the pure Yang-Mills case is in line with expectations (which in principle can be considered an a posteriori determination of Nf in agreement with the value used in simulations).
The next speaker was Yu Nakayama, who talked about a related topic, namely the determination of the chiral phase transition in QCD from the conformal bootstrap. The chiral phase transition can be studied in the framework of a Landau effective theory in three dimensions. While the mean-field theory predicts a second-order phase transition in the O(4) universality class, one-loop perturbation theory in 4-ε dimensions predicts a first-order phase transition at ε=1. Making use of the conformal symmetry of the effective theory, one can apply the conformal bootstrap method, which combines an OPE with crossing relations to obtain results for critical exponents, and the results from this method suggest that the phase transition is in fact of second order. This also agrees with many lattice studies, but others disagree. The role of the anomalously broken U(1)A symmetry in this analysis appears to be unclear.
After the coffee break, Tatsumi Aoyama, a long-time collaborator in the heroic efforts of Kinoshita to calculate the four- and five-loop QED contributions to the electron and muon anomalous moments, gave a plenary talk on the determination of the QED contribution to lepton (g-2). For likely readers of this blog, the importance of (g-2) is unlikely to require an explanation: the current 3σ tension between theory and experiment for (g-2)μ is the strongest hint of physics beyond the Standard Model so far, and since the largest uncertainties on the theory side are hadronic, lattice QCD is challenged to either resolve the tension or improve the accuracy of the predictions to the point where the tension becomes an unambiguous, albeit indirect, discovery of new physics. The QED calculations are on the face of it simpler, being straightforward Feynman diagram evaluations. However, the number of Feynman diagrams grows so quickly at higher orders that automated methods are required. In fact, in a first step, the number of Feynman diagrams is reduced by using the Ward-Takahashi identity to relate the vertex diagrams relevant to (g-2) to self-energy diagrams, which are then subjected to an automated renormalization procedure using the Zimmermann forest formula. In a similar way, infrared divergences are subtracted using a more complicated "annotated forest"-formula (there are two kinds of IR subtractions needed, so the subdiagrams in a forest need to be labelled with the kind of subtraction). The resulting UV- and IR-finite integrands are then integrated using VEGAS in Feynman parameter space. In order to maintain the required precision, quadruple-precision floating-point numbers (or an emulation thereof) must be used. Whether these methods could cope with the six-loop QED contribution is not clear, but with the current and projected experimental errors, that contribution will not be required for the foreseeable future, anyway.
This was followed by another (g-2)-related plenary, with Taku Izubichi speaking about the determination of anomalous magnetic moments and nucleon electric dipole moments in QCD. In particular the anomalous magnetic moment has become such an active topic recently that the time barely sufficed to review all of the activity in this field, which ranges from different approaches to parameterizing the momentum dependence of the hadronic vacuum polarization, through clever schemes to reduce the noise by subtracting zero-momentum contributions, to new ways of extracting the vacuum polarization through the use of background magnetic fields, as well as simulations of QCD+QED on the lattice. Among the most important problems are finite-volume effects.
After the lunch break, there were parallel sessions in the afternoon. I got to chair the first session on hadron structure, which was devoted to determinations of hadronic contributions to (g-2)μ.
After the coffee break, there were more parallel sessions, another complete one of which was devoted to (g-2) and closely-related topics. A talk deserving to be highlighted was given by Jeremy Green, who spoke about the first direct calculation of the hadronic light-to-light scattering amplitude from lattice QCD.