Energy Landscape

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The movement of a spin glass towards its lowest energy configuration can be represented as movement across a landscape, where the energy of each configuration is represented by the height of the terrain. Here, we see a landscape with the energy continuously decreasing along the x-axis, but there are many low-energy holes of varying depth all over the place. The red and the green lines show two possible paths toward the lowest energy state. Both paths pass through several local minima, from which the system would have needed an energy kick from somewhere to escape. Note the similarity of this landscape to the string landscape in Figure 29 of Unit 4. This similarity is no coincidence. (Unit: 9)