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Fluctuation distributions of energy minima in complex landscapes

  • We discuss the properties of the distributions of energies of minima obtained by gradient descent in complex energy landscapes. We find strikingly similar phenomenology across several prototypical models. We particularly focus on the distribution of energies of minima in the analytically well-understood p-spin-interaction spin-glass model. We numerically find non-Gaussian distributions that resemble the Tracy-Widom distributions often found in problems of random correlated variables, and nontrivial finite-size scaling. Based on this, we propose a picture of gradient-descent dynamics that highlights the importance of a first-passage process in the eigenvalues of the Hessian. This picture provides a concrete link to problems in which the Tracy-Widom distribution is established. Aspects of this first-passage view of gradient-descent dynamics are generic for nonconvex complex landscapes, rationalizing the commonality that we find across models.
Author:Horst-Holger Boltz, Jorge Kurchan, Andrea J. Liu
Document Type:Article
Parent Title (English):Physical Review Research
First Page:013061
Year of first publication:2021
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