Quantum vs. classical information: operator negativity as a probe of scrambling

Jonah Kudler-Flam, Masahiro Nozaki, Shinsei Ryu, Mao Tian Tan

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44 Scopus citations


We consider the logarithmic negativity and related quantities of time evolution operators. We study free fermion, compact boson, and holographic conformal field theories (CFTs) as well as numerical simulations of random unitary circuits and integrable and chaotic spin chains. The holographic behavior strongly deviates from known non- holographic CFT results and displays clear signatures of maximal scrambling. Intriguingly, the random unitary circuits display nearly identical behavior to the holographic channels. Generically, we find the “line-tension picture” to effectively capture the entanglement dynamics for chaotic systems and the “quasi-particle picture” for integrable systems. With this motivation, we propose an effective “line-tension” that captures the dynamics of the logarithmic negativity in chaotic systems in the spacetime scaling limit. We compare the negativity and mutual information leading us to find distinct dynamics of quantum and classical information. The “spurious entanglement” we observe may have implications on the “simulatability” of quantum systems on classical computers. Finally, we elucidate the connection between the operation of partially transposing a density matrix in conformal field theory and the entanglement wedge cross section in Anti-de Sitter space using geodesic Witten diagrams.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number31
JournalJournal of High Energy Physics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2020
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics


  • AdS-CFT Correspondence
  • Conformal Field Theory


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