Simulation reduction of the Ising model to general matchings

Mark L Huber (Claremont McKenna College)
Jenny Law (Duke University)


A distribution is tractable if it is possible to approximately sample from the distribution in polynomial time. Here the ferromagnetic Ising model with unidrectional magnetic field is shown to be reducible to a standard distribution on matchings that is tractable. This provides an alternate method to the original Jerrum and Sinclair approach to show that the Ising distribution itself is tractable. Previous reductions of the Ising model to perfect matchings on different graphs exist, but these older distributions are not tractable. Also, the older reductions did not consider an external magnetic field, while the new reduction explictly includes such a field. The new reduction also helps to explain why the idea of canonical paths is so useful inapproximately sampling from both problems. In addition, the reduction allows any algorithm for matchings to immediately be applied to the Ising model. For instance, this immediately yields a fully polynomial time approximation scheme for the Ising model on a bounded degree graph with magnetization bounded away from 0, merely by invoking an existing algorithm for matchings.

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Pages: 1-15

Publication Date: April 29, 2012

DOI: 10.1214/EJP.v17-1998


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