Steven White is a condensed matter physicist who specializes in the simulation of quantum systems. He is particularly known as the inventor of the density matrix renormalization group, one of the leading approaches for simulating quantum systems in several areas of physics and chemistry, and the first tensor network algorithm. His simulations of models for high temperature superconductors have clarified the role of striped states, and his simulations of frustrated magnets have demonstrated the existence of quantum spin liquids.

White was born in Lawton, Oklahoma, and grew up in California. He graduated with a B.A from the University of California, San Diego in 1982 with a triple major in physics, math, and economics, and he obtained his Ph.D. in physics from Cornell in 1988. He was a postdoctoral fellow at UC Santa Barbara, and joined the faculty at UC Irvine, in physics, in 1989. He has won the Rahman Prize in Computational Physics from the American Physical Society, and is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Sciences.

Research Interests

Steven White's research is focused on the simulation of strongly correlated quantum systems, particularly in condensed matter physics and quantum chemistry. He and his group work both on developing new algorithms and on applying these methods to study strongly correlated systems. As a graduate student, White worked with Ken Wilson on applying numerical renormalization group ideas to quantum chemistry. As a postdoc, white developed quantum Monte Carlo methods to study the high temperature superconductors. As an assistant professor, White invented the density matrix renormalization group algorithm, and his work has revolved around DMRG since then.

White and collaborators have applied DMRG to study antiferromagnetism and superconductivy in one and two dimensional lattice systems. In simulations of the t-J and Hubbard models in two dimensions, they have demonstrated the existence of striped ground states, which appear in several of the high temperature superconductors. In simulations of the kagome Heisenberg model, they have demonstrated the existence of spin liquid ground states in simple and realistic models. White has developed extensions of DMRG to study dynamical and finite temperature properties, and to study the electronic structure of molecules in a quantum chemical basis.

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Primary Section

Section 33: Applied Physical Sciences

Secondary Section

Section 13: Physics