Bayesian Approach to Spectral Function Reconstruction for Euclidean Quantum Field Theories

Burnier, Yannis; Rothkopf, Alexander (2013). Bayesian Approach to Spectral Function Reconstruction for Euclidean Quantum Field Theories. Physical review letters, 111(18), p. 182003. American Physical Society 10.1103/PhysRevLett.111.182003

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We present a novel approach to the inference of spectral functions from Euclidean time correlator data that makes close contact with modern Bayesian concepts. Our method differs significantly from the maximum entropy method (MEM). A new set of axioms is postulated for the prior probability, leading to an improved expression, which is devoid of the asymptotically flat directions present in the Shanon-Jaynes entropy. Hyperparameters are integrated out explicitly, liberating us from the Gaussian approximations underlying the evidence approach of the maximum entropy method. We present a realistic test of our method in the context of the nonperturbative extraction of the heavy quark potential. Based on hard-thermal-loop correlator mock data, we establish firm requirements in the number of data points and their accuracy for a successful extraction of the potential from lattice QCD. Finally we reinvestigate quenched lattice QCD correlators from a previous study and provide an improved potential estimation at T2.33TC.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Theoretical Physics
10 Strategic Research Centers > Albert Einstein Center for Fundamental Physics (AEC)

UniBE Contributor:

Burnier, Yannis and Rothkopf, Alexander Karl


500 Science > 530 Physics




American Physical Society




Esther Fiechter

Date Deposited:

12 Mar 2014 11:25

Last Modified:

20 Jan 2016 11:41

Publisher DOI:





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