This Thesis gives a complete review of the Higgs effect and Higgs related topics. It starts with theoretical basics and develops the theory of the Higgs effect within the electroweak section of the Standard Model. The discussion then considers the topics of radiative corrections and the effect of the Higgs boson as a virtual particle, concentrating on the example of the rho-parameter. In addition, experimental and theoretical constraints for the Higgs mass M_H will be given with special emphasis on the Hierarchy Problem which leads to a physically unacceptable Higgs mass when using high energies (of the Grand Unification scale) as a cutoff for the radiative corrections. Furthermore experimental attempts to detect the Higgs boson at LEP2, TEVATRON and LHC will be described and the different decay channels discussed. Finally, alternative theoretical models beyond the Standard Model are motivated and presented, such as supersymmetry, a vectorlike Standard Model and a possible relation between the Higgs and the Inflaton of Cosmology.

]]>It is found that the number of replicas R_opt that optimizes the parallel tempering algorithm scales as the square root of the system size N. For two symmetric low temperature states, the time needed for equilibration is observed to grow as L^2.18. If a significant difference in free energy is present between the two states, this changes to L^1.02.

It is therefore established that parallel tempering is sped up by a factor of roughly L if an asymmetry is introduced between the low temperature states. This confirms previously made predictions for the efficiency of parallel tempering. These findings should be especially relevant when using parallel tempering for systems like spin glasses, where no information about the degeneracy of low temperature states is available prior to the simulation.

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