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We present the first holographic simulations of non-equilibrium steady state formation in strongly coupled N=4 SYM theory in 3+1 dimensions. We initially join together two thermal baths at different temperatures and chemical potentials and compare the subsequent evolution of the combined system to analytic solutions of the corresponding Riemann problem and to numeric solutions of ideal and viscous hydrodynamics. The time evolution of the energy density that we obtain holographically is consistent with the combination of a shock and a rarefaction wave: A shock wave moves towards the cold bath, and a smooth broadening wave towards the hot bath. Between the two waves emerges a steady state with constant temperature and flow velocity, both of which are accurately described by a shock+rarefaction wave solution of the Riemann problem. In the steady state region, a smooth crossover develops between two regions of different charge density. This is reminiscent of a contact discontinuity in the Riemann problem. We also obtain results for the entanglement entropy of regions crossed by shock and rarefaction waves and find both of them to closely follow the evolution of the energy density.

We use holography to study the dynamics of a strongly-coupled gauge theory in four-dimensional de Sitter space with Hubble rate H. The gauge theory is non-conformal with a characteristic mass scale M. We solve Einstein’s equations numerically and determine the time evolution of homogeneous gauge theory states. If their initial energy density is high compared with H4 then the early-time evolution is well described by viscous hydrodynamics with a non-zero bulk viscosity. At late times the dynamics is always far from equilibrium. The asymptotic late-time state preserves the full de Sitter symmetry group and its dual geometry is a domain-wall in AdS5. The approach to this state is characterised by an emergent relation of the form P = w ℰ that is different from the equilibrium equation of state in flat space. The constant w does not depend on the initial conditions but only on H/M and is negative if the ratio H/M is close to unity. The event and the apparent horizons of the late-time solution do not coincide with one another, reflecting its non-equilibrium nature. In between them lies an “entanglement horizon” that cannot be penetrated by extremal surfaces anchored at the boundary, which we use to compute the entanglement entropy of boundary regions. If the entangling region equals the observable universe then the extremal surface coincides with a bulk cosmological horizon that just touches the event horizon, while for larger regions the extremal surface probes behind the event horizon.

We use holography to study the dynamics of a strongly-coupled gauge theory in four-dimensional de Sitter space with Hubble rate H. The gauge theory is non-conformal with a characteristic mass scale M. We solve Einstein’s equations numerically and determine the time evolution of homogeneous gauge theory states. If their initial energy density is high compared with H4 then the early-time evolution is well described by viscous hydrodynamics with a non-zero bulk viscosity. At late times the dynamics is always far from equilibrium. The asymptotic late-time state preserves the full de Sitter symmetry group and its dual geometry is a domain-wall in AdS5. The approach to this state is characterised by an emergent relation of the form P = w E that is different from the equilibrium equation of state in flat space. The constant w does not depend on the initial conditions but only on H/M and is negative if the ratio H/M is close to unity. The event and the apparent horizons of the late-time solution do not coincide with one another, reflecting its non-equilibrium nature. In between them lies an “entanglement horizon” that cannot be penetrated by extremal surfaces anchored at the boundary, which we use to compute the entanglement entropy of boundary regions. If the entangling region equals the observable universe then the extremal surface coincides with a bulk cosmological horizon that just touches the event horizon, while for larger regions the extremal surface probes behind the event horizon.

Holography has provided valuable insights into the time evolution of strongly coupled gauge theories in a fixed spacetime. However, this framework is insufficient if this spacetime is dynamical. We present a scheme to evolve a four-dimensional, strongly interacting gauge theory coupled to four-dimensional dynamical gravity in the semiclassical regime. As in previous work, we use holography to evolve the quantum gauge theory stress tensor, whereas the four-dimensional metric evolves according to Einstein’s equations coupled to the expectation value of the stress tensor. The novelty of our approach is that both the boundary and the bulk spacetimes are constructed dynamically, one time step at a time. We focus on Friedmann-Lemaître-Robertson-Walker geometries and evolve far-from-equilibrium initial states that lead to asymptotically expanding, flat or collapsing Universes.

According to the inflationary theory of cosmology, most elementary particles in the current Universe were created during a period of reheating after inflation. In this Letter, we self-consistently couple the Einstein-inflaton equations to a strongly coupled quantum field theory as described by holography. We show that this leads to an inflating universe, a reheating phase, and finally a universe dominated by the quantum field theory in thermal equilibrium.

Holography has provided valuable insights into the time evolution of strongly coupled gauge theories in a fixed spacetime. However, this framework is insufficient if this spacetime is dynamical. We present a scheme to evolve a four-dimensional, strongly interacting gauge theory coupled to four-dimensional dynamical gravity in the semiclassical regime. As in previous work, we use holography to evolve the quantum gauge theory stress tensor, whereas the four-dimensional metric evolves according to Einstein's equations coupled to the expectation value of the stress tensor. The novelty of our approach is that both the boundary and the bulk spacetimes are constructed dynamically, one time step at a time. We focus on Friedmann-Lemaître-Robertson-Walker geometries and evolve far-from-equilibrium initial states that lead to asymptotically expanding, flat or collapsing Universes.

According to the inflationary theory of cosmology, most elementary particles in the current universe were created during a period of reheating after inflation. In this work we self-consistently couple the Einstein-inflaton equations to a strongly coupled quantum field theory (QFT) as described by holography. We show that this leads to an inflating universe, a reheating phase and finally a universe dominated by the QFT in thermal equilibrium.

Holography has provided valuable insights into the time evolution of strongly coupled gauge theories in a fixed spacetime. However, this framework is insufficient if this spacetime is dynamical. We present a novel scheme to evolve a four-dimensional, strongly interacting gauge theory coupled to four-dimensional dynamical gravity in the semiclassical regime. We use holography to evolve the quantum gauge theory stress tensor. The four-dimensional metric evolves according to the four-dimensional Einstein equations coupled to the expectation value of the stress tensor. We focus on Friedmann-Lemaître-Robertson-Walker geometries and evolve far-from-equilibrium initial states that lead to asymptotically expanding, flat or collapsing Universes.

We present the first holographic simulations of non-equilibrium steady state formation in strongly coupled N=4 SYM theory in 3+1 dimensions. We initially join together two thermal baths at different temperatures and chemical potentials and compare the subsequent evolution of the combined system to analytic solutions of the corresponding Riemann problem and to numeric solutions of ideal and viscous hydrodynamics. The time evolution of the energy density that we obtain holographically is consistent with the combination of a shock and a rarefaction wave: A shock wave moves towards the cold bath, and a smooth broader wave towards the hot bath. Between the two waves emerges a steady state with constant temperature and flow velocity, both of which are accurately described by a shock+rarefaction wave solution of the Riemann problem. In the steady state region develops a smooth crossover between two regions of different charge densities that diffuses on a timescale proportional to t√ and is reminiscent of a contact discontinuity in the Riemann problem. We also obtain results for the entanglement entropy of regions crossed by shock and rarefaction waves and find both of them to closely follow the evolution of the energy density.