Date of Award


Document type


Access Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program


First Advisor

Jonathan Machta

Second Advisor

Helmut G. Katzgraber

Third Advisor

Murugappan Muthukumar

Subject Categories



Spin glasses have been the subject of intense study and considerable controversy for decades, and the low-temperature phase of short-range spin glasses is still poorly understood. Our main goal is to improve our understanding in this area and find an answer to the following question: Are there only a single pair or a countable infinity of pure states in the low temperature phase of the EA spin glass? To that aim we first start by introducing spin glasses and provide a brief history of their research, then proceed to describe our method of simulation, the parallel tempering Monte Carlo algorithm. Next, we present the results of a large-scale numerical study of the equilibrium three-dimensional Edwards-Anderson Ising spin glass with Gaussian disorder. In order to understand how the parallel tempering algorithm works, we measure various static, as well as dynamical quantities, such as the autocorrelation times and round-trip times for the parallel tempering Monte Carlo method. We examine the correlation between static and dynamic observables for _ 5000 disorder realizations and up to 1000 spins down to temperatures at 20% of the critical temperature, and our results show that autocorrelation times are directly correlated with the roughness of the free-energy landscape. In the following chapters, the three- and four-dimensional Edwards-Anderson and mean-field Sherrington-Kirkpatrick Ising spin glasses are studied again via large-scale Monte Carlo simulations at low temperatures, deep within the spinglass phase. Performing a careful statistical analysis of several thousand independent disorder realizations and using an observable that detects peaks in the overlap distribution, we show that the Sherrington-Kirkpatrick and Edwards-Anderson models have a distinctly different low-temperature behavior. We arrive to the following conclusion: The structure of the spin-glass overlap distribution for the Edwards-Anderson model suggests that its low-temperature phase has only a single pair of pure states. Finally we present results for several new observables, along with a few preliminary studies and suggestions for future research.


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