Abstract:
We have simulated lattice QCD with 2 flavours of massless staggered quarks. An irrelevant chiral 4-fermion interaction was added to the standard quark action to allow us to simulate at zero quark mass. Thermodynamics was studied on lattices of temporal extent 6. Clear evidence for a second order chiral transition was observed and the critical exponents $\beta_{mag}$, $\delta$, $\nu$ and $\gamma_{mag}$ were measured. These exponents did not agree with those expected by standard universality arguments. They were, however, consistent with tricritical behaviour. The $\pi$ and $\sigma$ screening masses were measured and showed clear evidence for chiral symmetry restoration at this transition.

Abstract:
In order to study the running coupling in four-flavour QCD, we review the set-up of the Schr\"odinger functional (SF) with staggered quarks. Staggered quarks require lattices which, in the usual counting, have even spatial lattice extent $L/a$ while the time extent $T/a$ must be odd. Setting $T=L$ is therefore only possible up to ${\rm O}(a)$, which introduces different cutoff effects already in the pure gauge theory. We re-define the SF such as to cope with this situation and determine the corresponding classical background field. A perturbative calculation yields the coefficient of the pure gauge ${\rm O}(a)$ boundary counterterm to one-loop order.

Abstract:
We present results on the sum of the masses of light and strange quark using improved staggered quarks. Our calculation uses 2+1 flavours of dynamical quarks. The effects of the dynamical quarks are clearly visible.

Abstract:
The chirally rotated Schroedinger functional provides a test bed for universality and automatic O(a) improvement. We here report on extensive quenched simulations of lattice QCD with Wilson quarks in the massless limit. We demonstrate that, after proper tuning of a dimension 3 boundary counterterm, the expected chirally rotated boundary conditions are indeed obtained. This implies automatic O(a) improvement which we then verify in a few examples. Universality of properly renormalized correlation functions is confirmed by comparing to the standard set-up of the Schroedinger functional. As a by-product of this study the non-singlet current renormalisation constants Z_A and Z_V are obtained from ratios of 2-point functions.

Abstract:
We describe an implementation of the Rational Hybrid Monte Carlo (RHMC) algorithm for dynamical computations with two flavours of staggered quarks. We discuss several variants of the method, the performance and possible sources of error for each of them, and we compare the performance and results to the inexact R algorithm.

Abstract:
QCD with two flavours of massless colour-sextet quarks is considered as a model for conformal/walking Technicolor. If this theory possess an infrared fixed point, as indicated by 2-loop perturbation theory, it is a conformal(unparticle) field theory. If, on the other hand, a chiral condensate forms on the weak-coupling side of this would-be fixed point, the theory remains confining. The only difference between such a theory and regular QCD is that there is a range of momentum scales over which the coupling constant runs very slowly (walks). In this first analysis, we simulate the lattice version of QCD with two flavours of staggered quarks at finite temperatures on lattices of temporal extent $N_t=4$ and 6. The deconfinement and chiral-symmetry restoration couplings give us a measure of the scales associated with confinement and chiral-symmetry breaking. We find that, in contrast to what is seen with fundamental quarks, these transition couplings are very different. $\beta=6/g^2$ for each of these transitions increases significantly from $N_t=4$ and $N_t=6$ as expected for the finite temperature transitions of an asymptotically-free theory. This suggests a walking rather than a conformal behaviour, in contrast to what is observed with Wilson quarks. In contrast to what is found for fundamental quarks, the deconfined phase exhibits states in which the Polyakov loop is oriented in the directions of all three cube roots of unity. At very weak coupling the states with complex Polyakov loops undergo a transition to a state with a real, negative Polyakov loop.

Abstract:
We study various improved staggered quark Dirac operators on quenched gluon backgrounds in lattice QCD generated using a Symanzik-improved gluon action. We find a clear separation of the spectrum into would-be zero modes and others. The number of would-be zero modes depends on the topological charge as expected from the Index Theorem, and their chirality expectation value is large (approximately 0.7). The remaining modes have low chirality and show clear signs of clustering into quartets and approaching the random matrix theory predictions for all topological charge sectors. We conclude that improvement of the fermionic and gauge actions moves the staggered quarks closer to the continuum limit where they respond correctly to QCD topology.

Abstract:
We study QCD with two flavours of colour-sextet quarks as a candidate walking-Technicolor theory. We simulate lattice QCD with two flavours of colour-sextet staggered quarks at finite temperatures to observe the scales of confinement and chiral-symmetry breaking. These should give us some indication as to whether the massless theory has an infrared fixed point making it a conformal field theory, or whether it exhibits confinement and chiral symmetry breaking with a slowly varying coupling constant, i.e. `walks'. We find that unlike the case with fundamental quarks, the deconfinement and chiral-symmetry restoration transitions are far apart. The values of $\beta=6/g^2$ for both transitions increase when $Ta$ is decreased from 1/4 to 1/6 as would be expected for finite temperature transitions of an asymptotically-free field theory. So far we see no suggestion of conformal behaviour.

Abstract:
Scale setting for QCD with two flavours of staggered quarks is examined using Wilson flow over a factor of four change in both the lattice spacing and the pion mass. The statistics needed to keep the errors in the flow scale fixed is found to increase approximately as the inverse square of the lattice spacing. Tree level improvement of the scales t_0 and w_0 is found to be useful in most of the range of lattice spacings we explore. The scale uncertainty due to remaining lattice spacing effects is found to be about 3%. The ratio w_0/\sqrt{t_0} is N_f dependent and we find its continuum limit to be 1.106 \pm 0.007 (stat) \pm 0.005 (syst) for m_\pi w_0 \simeq 0.3.

Abstract:
I look at the rooting controversy from a historical point of view and review how I have come to the conclusion that these simulations involving staggered quarks must be discarded.