Abstract:
This review contains an overview over recent results for the electromagnetic iso-vector form factor of the pion obtained in lattice QCD with dynamical fermions. Particular attention is given to the extrapolation to the physical point and an easy assessment of the control over the main systematic effects by imposing quality criteria and an associated sign code, similar to the ones used by the FLAG working group. Also included is a brief discussion of recent developments and future challenges concerning the accurate extraction of the form factor in the lattice framework.

Abstract:
We measure the energy levels of the excitations of the flux tube between static quark and antiquark in three-dimensional SU(2) gauge theory. Combining exponential error reduction techniques and a variational method we are able to reduce the errors for the excited states significantly and to extract excited states in distinct parity and charge conjugation channels. It is conjectured that the infrared behavior (at large q\bar{q} separation R) of the flux tube is governed by an effective string theory. Indeed previous simulations show good agreement between lattice data and predictions from Nambu-Goto string theory. Recently, new results on the effective string theory obtained corrections to the Nambu-Goto predictions and showed that for the open string in three dimensions first corrections should appears at order 1/R^4. They correspond to boundary terms in the worldsheet field theory. These corrections are presumably small for the ground state, but significantly larger for the excited states and lift the degeneracies of the free theory. Assuming this functional form of the correction, we obtain for the coefficient b_2=-0.5(2)(2).

Abstract:
Simulations in lattice gauge theory suggest that the formation of a flux tube between quark and antiquark leads to quark confinement. It is conjectured that the infrared behaviour of the flux tube is governed by an effective string theory and simulations show good agreement between lattice data and its predictions. To next-to leading order ($R^{-3}$) in the inverse $q\bar{q}$ separation $R$ the effective string theory is equivalent to Nambu-Goto string theory. For the open flux tube in three dimensions corrections appear at order $R^{-4}$. We compare these predictions to high-accuracy measurements of the groundstate energy of the flux tube in 3d SU(2) and SU(3) gauge theory and extract the coefficient of the leading order boundary term in the effective action.

Abstract:
Evidence from the lattice suggests that formation of a flux tube between a $q\bar{q}$ pair in the QCD vacuum leads to quark confinement. For large separations between the quarks, it is conjectured that the flux tube has a behaviour similar to an oscillating bosonic string, supported by lattice data for the groundstate $q\bar{q}$ potential. We measure the excited states of the flux tube in 3d SU(2) gauge theory with three different couplings inside the scaling region. We compare our results to predictions of effective string theories.

Abstract:
We present a version of the Luescher-Weisz multilevel algorithm ideally suited for studying excited states of the QCD flux tube. While the original version achieved error reduction only in the temporal direction, the new algorithm reduces fluctuations in the sources as well. We report on the implementation of this algorithm as well as improvement over the older method. We also present first results, where we see a good agreement with theoretical predictions from bosonic string models.

Abstract:
Following a proposal of Budczies and Zirnbauer, we investigate an alternative lattice discretization of continuum ${\rm SU}(N_c)$ Yang-Mills theory in which the self-interactions of the gauge field are induced by a path integral over $N_b\ge N_c-1$ auxiliary bosonic fields which are coupled linearly to the gauge field. In two dimensions there exists an analytic proof that the new discretization reproduces Yang-Mills theory in its non-perturbative continuum limit. We provide numerical evidence that this is also the case in three and four dimensions and that, after a suitable matching of the free parameters, the results of the induced theory agree with results from the ordinary plaquette action up to lattice artifacts. The new discretization is ideally suited to change the order of integration in the QCD path integral to arrive at formulations in which the gauge fields have been integrated out. The resulting theories might be amenable to methods previously used in the infinite-coupling limit, and we briefly discuss possibilities to arrive at dual representations of lattice QCD.

Abstract:
We present a lattice calculation of the vector form factor of the pion for two flavours of non-perturbatively O(a) improved Wilson fermions. For the measurements we utilise the CLS ensembles which include various lattice spacings and pion masses down to about 250 MeV. To obtain a fine momentum resolution near zero momentum transfer (q^2) partially twisted boundary conditions are employed using several twist angles. Due to the fine resolution around q^2=0 we are able to determine the slope of the form factor and, in turn, extract the charge radius of the pion without any model dependence. The results for the form factor and the charge radius are then compared to chiral perturbation theory and phenomenological models which are used to extrapolate the results to the physical point.

Abstract:
We present a comprehensive study of the electromagnetic form factor, the decay constant and the mass of the pion computed in lattice QCD with two degenerate O(a)-improved Wilson quarks at three different lattice spacings in the range 0.05-0.08fm and pion masses between 280 and 630MeV at m_pi L >~ 4. Using partially twisted boundary conditions and stochastic estimators, we obtain a dense set of precise data points for the form factor at very small momentum transfers, allowing for a model-independent extraction of the charge radius. Chiral Perturbation Theory (ChPT) augmented by terms which model lattice artefacts is then compared to the data. At next-to-leading order the effective theory fails to produce a consistent description of the full set of pion observables but describes the data well when only the decay constant and mass are considered. By contrast, using the next-to-next-to-leading order expressions to perform global fits result in a consistent description of all data. We obtain =0.481(33)(13)fm^2 as our final result for the charge radius at the physical point. Our calculation also yields estimates for the pion decay constant in the chiral limit, F_pi/F=1.080(16)(6), the quark condensate, Sigma^{1/3}_MSbar(2GeV)=261(13)(1)MeV and several low-energy constants of SU(2) ChPT.

Abstract:
We present the current status of our lattice calculation of the electromagnetic form factor of the pion with two flavours of non-perturbatively O(a)-improved Wilson fermions. Using twisted boundary conditions and stochastic sources we obtain accurate results with a fine momentum resolution near $q^2=0$. This enables the computation of the charge radius without model dependence. The ensembles cover various lattice spacings and pion masses, ranging down to 250 MeV. This allows to compare the data to continuum chiral perturbation theory to NNLO including corrections of finite lattice spacing to perform a simultaneous chiral and continuum extrapolation. An estimate for the systematic error resulting from the extrapolation can be obtained by looking at the spread of results obtained from other functional forms such as polynomials.

Abstract:
We study pure SU(N) lattice gauge theory with a plaquette weight factor given by an inverse determinant which can be written as an integral over auxiliary bosonic fields (modifying a proposal of Budczies and Zirnbauer). We derive conditions for the existence of a continuum limit and its equivalence to Yang-Mills theory. Furthermore, we perturbatively compute the relation between the coupling constants of the `induced' gauge action and the familiar Wilson gauge action using the background-field technique. The perturbative relation agrees well with numerical results for N=2 in three dimensions.