# Statistical physics of computation

## Summary

The students understand tools from the statistical physics of disordered systems, and apply them to study computational and statistical problems in graph theory, discrete optimisation, inference and machine learning.

## Content

Interest in the methods and concepts of statistical physics is rapidly growing in fields as diverse as theoretical computer science, probability theory, machine learning, discrete mathematics, optimization, signal processing and others. Large part of the related work has relied on the use of message-passing algorithms and their connection to the statistical physics of glasses and spin glasses.

This course covers this active interdisciplinary research landscape. Specifically, we will review the statistical physics approach to problems ranging from graph theory (e.g. community detection) to discrete optimization and constraint satisfaction (e.g. satisfiability or coloring) and to inference and machine learning problems (learning in neural networks, clustering of data and of networks, compressed sensing or sparse linear regression, low-rank matrix factorization).

We will expose theoretical methods of analysis (replica, cavity, ...) algorithms (message passing, spectral methods, etc), discuss concrete applications, highlight rigorous justifications as well as present the connection to the physics of glassy and disordered systems.

This is an advanced theoretical course that is designed for students with background in mathematics, electrical engineering, computer science or physics. This course exposes advanced theoretical concepts and methods, with exercises in the analytical methods and usage of the related algorithms.

## Learning Prerequisites

## Important concepts to start the course

For physics students Statistical physics I and II (or equivalent) is required.

This lecture is accessible to students in mathematics, electrical engineering, computer science without any previous training in statistical physics. Those students are expected to have strong interest in theory, probabilistic approaches to analysis of algoriths, high-dimensional statistics or probabilistic signal processing.

## Learning Outcomes

By the end of the course, the student must be able to:

- Analyze theoretically a range of problems in computer science and learning.
- Derive algorithms for a range of computational problems using technics stemming from statistical physics.

## Teaching methods

2h of lecture + 2h of excercise

## Assessment methods

Final written exam counting for 50% and graded homework during the semester counting for the other 50%.

## Resources

## Bibliography

Information, Physics and Computation (Oxford Graduate Texts), 2009, M. Mézard, A. Montanari

Statistical Physics of inference: Thresholds and algorithms, Advances in Physics 65, 5 2016, L. Zdeborova & F. Krzakala, available at https://arxiv.org/abs/1511.02476

## Ressources en bibliothèque

## Références suggérées par la bibliothèque

## Notes/Handbook

Policopié "Statistical Physics methods in Optimization & Machine Learning" by L. Zdeborova & F. Krzakala, available athttps://sphinxteam.github.io/EPFLDoctoralLecture2021/Notes.pdf

## Moodle Link

## In the programs

**Semester:**Fall**Exam form:**Written (winter session)**Subject examined:**Statistical physics of computation**Lecture:**2 Hour(s) per week x 14 weeks**Exercises:**2 Hour(s) per week x 14 weeks**Type:**optional

**Semester:**Fall**Exam form:**Written (winter session)**Subject examined:**Statistical physics of computation**Lecture:**2 Hour(s) per week x 14 weeks**Exercises:**2 Hour(s) per week x 14 weeks**Type:**optional

**Semester:**Fall**Exam form:**Written (winter session)**Subject examined:**Statistical physics of computation**Lecture:**2 Hour(s) per week x 14 weeks**Exercises:**2 Hour(s) per week x 14 weeks**Type:**optional

**Semester:**Fall**Exam form:**Written (winter session)**Subject examined:**Statistical physics of computation**Lecture:**2 Hour(s) per week x 14 weeks**Exercises:**2 Hour(s) per week x 14 weeks**Type:**optional

**Semester:**Fall**Exam form:**Written (winter session)**Subject examined:**Statistical physics of computation**Lecture:**2 Hour(s) per week x 14 weeks**Exercises:**2 Hour(s) per week x 14 weeks**Type:**optional

**Semester:**Fall**Exam form:**Written (winter session)**Subject examined:**Statistical physics of computation**Lecture:**2 Hour(s) per week x 14 weeks**Exercises:**2 Hour(s) per week x 14 weeks**Type:**optional

**Semester:**Fall**Exam form:**Written (winter session)**Subject examined:**Statistical physics of computation**Lecture:**2 Hour(s) per week x 14 weeks**Exercises:**2 Hour(s) per week x 14 weeks**Type:**optional

**Semester:**Fall**Exam form:**Written (winter session)**Subject examined:**Statistical physics of computation**Lecture:**2 Hour(s) per week x 14 weeks**Exercises:**2 Hour(s) per week x 14 weeks**Type:**optional

**Semester:**Fall**Exam form:**Written (winter session)**Subject examined:**Statistical physics of computation**Lecture:**2 Hour(s) per week x 14 weeks**Exercises:**2 Hour(s) per week x 14 weeks**Type:**optional

**Semester:**Fall**Exam form:**Written (winter session)**Subject examined:**Statistical physics of computation**Lecture:**2 Hour(s) per week x 14 weeks**Exercises:**2 Hour(s) per week x 14 weeks**Type:**optional

**Semester:**Fall**Exam form:**Written (winter session)**Subject examined:**Statistical physics of computation**Lecture:**2 Hour(s) per week x 14 weeks**Exercises:**2 Hour(s) per week x 14 weeks**Type:**optional

**Semester:**Fall**Exam form:**Written (winter session)**Subject examined:**Statistical physics of computation**Lecture:**2 Hour(s) per week x 14 weeks**Exercises:**2 Hour(s) per week x 14 weeks**Type:**optional