Statistical Physics and Algorithms

Dana Randall
The field of randomized algorithms has benefitted greatly from insights from statistical physics. We give examples in two distinct settings. The first is in the context of Markov chain Monte Carlo algorithms, which have become ubiquitous across science and engineering as a means of exploring large configuration spaces. One of the most striking discoveries was the realization that many natural Markov chains undergo phase transitions, whereby they are efficient for some parameter settings and then...
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