Abstract:
The fermion sign problem appearing in the mean-field approximation is considered, and the systematic computational scheme of the free energy is devised by using the Lefschetz-thimble method. We show that the Lefschetz-thimble method respects the reflection symmetry, which makes physical quantities manifestly real at any order of approximations using complex saddle points. The formula is demonstrated through the Airy integral as an example, and its application to the Polyakov-loop effective model of dense QCD is discussed in detail.

Abstract:
This is an introductory level review of recent applications of resurgent trans-series and Picard-Lefschetz theory to quantum mechanics and quantum field theory. Resurgence connects local perturbative data with global topological structure. In quantum mechanical systems, this program provides a constructive relation between different saddles. For example, in certain cases it has been shown that all information around the instanton saddle is encoded in perturbation theory around the perturbative saddle. In quantum field theory, such as sigma models compactified on a circle, neutral bions provide a semi-classical interpretation of the elusive IR-renormalon, and fractional kink instantons lead to the non-perturbatively induced gap, of order of the strong scale. In the path integral formulation of quantum mechanics, saddles must be found by solving the holomorphic Newton's equation in the inverted (holomorphized) potential. Some saddles are complex, multi-valued, and even singular, but of finite action, and their inclusion is strictly necessary to prevent inconsistencies. The multi-valued saddles enter either via resurgent cancellations, or their phase is tied with a hidden topological angle. We emphasize the importance of the destructive/constructive interference effects between equally dominant saddles in the Lefschetz thimble decomposition. This is especially important in the context of the sign problem.

Abstract:
The Lefschetz-thimble approach to path integrals is applied to the one-site model of electron systems. Since the one-site Hubbard model shows a non-analytic behavior at the zero temperature and its path integral expression has the sign problem, this toy model is a good testing ground for various approaches to the sign problem. Semiclassical analysis using complex saddle points unveils the significance of interference among multiple Lefschetz thimbles, and the non-analytic behavior turns out to be explained by this interference. If the number of Lefschetz thimbles is insufficient, we found not only large discrepancies from the exact result, but also thermodynamic instabilities. Analyzing such singular behaviors semiclassically, we propose a criterion to identify the necessary number of Lefschetz thimbles.

Abstract:
Based on the Lefschetz thimble formulation of path-integration, we analyze the (0+1) dimensional Thirring model at finite chemical potentials and perform hybrid Monte Carlo (HMC) simulations. We adopt the lattice action defined with the staggered fermion and a compact link field for the auxiliary vector field. We firstly locate the critical points (saddle points) of the gradient flows within the subspace of time-independent (complex) link field, and study the thiemble structure and the Stokes phenomenon to identify the thimbles which contribute to the path-integral. Then, we perform HMC simulations on the single dominant thimble and compare the results to the exact solution. The numerical results are in agreement with the exact ones in small and large chemical potential regions, while they show some deviation in the crossover region in the chemical potential. We also comment on the necessity of the contributions from multiple thimbles in the crossover region.

Abstract:
It is sometimes speculated that the sign problem that afflicts many quantum field theories might be reduced or even eliminated by choosing an alternative domain of integration within a complexified extension of the path integral (in the spirit of the stationary phase integration method). In this paper we start to explore this possibility somewhat systematically. A first inspection reveals the presence of many difficulties but - quite surprisingly - most of them have an interesting solution. In particular, it is possible to regularize the lattice theory on a Lefschetz thimble, where the imaginary part of the action is constant and disappears from all observables. This regularization can be justified in terms of symmetries and perturbation theory. Moreover, it is possible to design a Monte Carlo algorithm that samples the configurations in the thimble. This is done by simulating, effectively, a five dimensional system. We describe the algorithm in detail and analyze its expected cost and stability. Unfortunately, the measure term also produces a phase which is not constant and it is currently very expensive to compute. This residual sign problem is expected to be much milder, as the dominant part of the integral is not affected, but we have still no convincing evidence of this. However, the main goal of this paper is to introduce a new approach to the sign problem, that seems to offer much room for improvements. An appealing feature of this approach is its generality. It is illustrated first in the simple case of a scalar field theory with chemical potential, and then extended to the more challenging case of QCD at finite baryonic density.

Abstract:
In this talk I review the proposal to formulate quantum field theories (QFTs) on a Lefschetz thimble, which was put forward to enable Monte Carlo simulations of lattice QFTs affected by sign problem. First I will review the theoretical justification of the approach, and comment on some open issues. Then, I will review the algorithms that have been proposed and are being tested to represent and simulate a lattice QFT on a Lefschetz thimble. In particular, I will review the lessons from the very first models of QFTs that have been studied with this approach.

Abstract:
The Picard-Lefschetz theory offers a promising tool to solve the sign problem in QCD and other field theories with complex path-integral weight. In this paper the Lefschetz-thimble approach is examined in simple fermionic models which share some features with QCD. In zero-dimensional versions of the Gross-Neveu model and the Nambu-Jona-Lasinio model, we study the structure of Lefschetz thimbles and its variation across the chiral phase transition. We map out a phase diagram in the complex four-fermion coupling plane using a thimble decomposition of the path integral, and demonstrate an interesting link between anti-Stokes lines and Lee-Yang zeros. In the case of nonzero mass, it is shown that the approach to the chiral limit is singular because of intricate cancellation between competing thimbles, which implies the necessity to sum up multiple thimbles related by symmetry. We also consider a Chern-Simons theory with fermions in $0+1$-dimension and show how Lefschetz thimbles solve the complex phase problem caused by a topological term. These prototypical examples would aid future application of this framework to bona fide QCD.

Abstract:
We propose a new algorithm based on the Metropolis sampling method to perform Monte Carlo integration for path integrals in the recently proposed formulation of quantum field theories on the Lefschetz thimble. The algorithm is based on a mapping between the curved manifold defined by the Lefschetz thimble of the full action and the flat manifold associated with the corresponding quadratic action. We discuss an explicit method to calculate the residual phase due to the curvature of the Lefschetz thimble. Finally, we apply this new algorithm to a simple one-plaquette model where our results are in perfect agreement with the analytic integration. We also show that for this system the residual phase does not represent a sign problem.

Abstract:
Recently, we have proposed a novel approach (arxiv:1205.3996) to deal with the sign problem that hinders Monte Carlo simulations of many quantum field theories (QFTs). The approach consists in formulating the QFT on a Lefschetz thimble. In this paper we concentrate on the application to a scalar field theory with a sign problem. In particular, we review the formulation and the justification of the approach, and we also describe the Aurora Monte Carlo algorithm that we are currently testing.

Abstract:
In these proceedings, we summarize the Lefschetz thimble approach to the sign problem of Quantum Field Theories. In particular, we review its motivations, and we summarize the results of the application of two different algorithms to two test models.