Glassy States of Matter and Nonequilibrium Quantum Dynamics

Coordinators: Boris L. Altshuler, Premi Chandra, Leticia Fernanda Cugliandolo, Paul M. Goldbart, Marc Mézard

Glassy states of matter do not reach thermal equilibrium on experimentally accessible time-scales, and thus their characterization remains a challenge to workers in statistical physics. They appear in a wide variety of settings including amorphous solids, spin systems, flux lattices, disordered semiconductors and macromolecular networks. Furthermore the concepts and techniques developed for studying such complex problems have also been applied to issues of high density chip design, coding theory, protein folding and neural computation. A growing community of researchers is working at the overlap of optimization and statistical physics, with particular interest in biophysical applications. We hope that this workshop will provide opportunities for further exchange of ideas and concepts between these different disciplines.

Concurrently, the field of quantum systems out-of-equilibrium is a burgeoning one that covers problems as diverse as quantum glasses, driven Josephson junctions and spin nanotronics. Thanks to recent developments in the laboratory, there now exist several quantum systems out of equilibrium that are sumultaneously accessible to both theory and experiment. In particular, these systems provide laboratories where the quantum and/or out-of-equilibrium physics can be studied in a controlled fashion.

In this workshop we plan to bring together participants, both experimental and theoretical, from a number of distinct communities, including those working in out-of-equilibrium statistical mechanics, combinatorial optimization, and quantum transport in mesoscopic systems. Although there are a number of common themes in these diverse areas, from both conceptual and technical perspectives, the approaches taken often differ markedly. Our hope is that this workshop will provide a setting where the interaction between these different communities will be fruitful, fostering substantive advances in our collective understanding of classical and quantum systems out of equilibrium.