Grid-based diffusion Monte Carlo for fermions without the fixed-node approximation

Alexander A. Kunitsa, So Hirata

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A diffusion Monte Carlo algorithm is introduced that can determine the correct nodal structure of the wave function of a few-fermion system and its ground-state energy without an uncontrolled bias. This is achieved by confining signed random walkers to the points of a uniform infinite spatial grid, allowing them to meet and annihilate one another to establish the nodal structure without the fixed-node approximation. An imaginary-time propagator is derived rigorously from a discretized Hamiltonian, governing a non-Gaussian, sign-flipping, branching, and mutually annihilating random walk of particles. The accuracy of the resulting stochastic representations of a fermion wave function is limited only by the grid and imaginary-time resolutions and can be improved in a controlled manner. The method is tested for a series of model problems including fermions in a harmonic trap as well as the He atom in its singlet or triplet ground state. For the latter case, the energies approach from above with increasing grid resolution and converge within 0.015Eh of the exact basis-set-limit value for the grid spacing of 0.08 a.u. with a statistical uncertainty of 10-5Eh without an importance sampling or Jastrow factor.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number013311
JournalPhysical Review E
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 27 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
  • Statistics and Probability


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