Principle of Maximum Entropy and Quantum Phase Transitions
We discuss quantum phase transitions from an information-theoretic point of view, based on the information from local observable measurements. Two types of transitions naturally arise from our approach, for smooth changes of local Hamiltonians. One type can be detected by a non-smooth change of local observable measurements while the other type cannot. The discontinuity of the maximum entropy inference for local observable measurements signals the non-local type of transitions, indicating the existence of long-range irreducible many-body correlations. As commonly recognized, the topological phase transitions are non-local where the maximum entropy inference are indeed discontinuous at the transition points. We clarify that, however, the ‘symmetry-breaking’ phase transitions, for instance the one in the transverse Ising model, are also non-local with discontinuity of the maximum entropy inference. We propose to detect the non-local type of transitions by the quantum conditional mutual information of two disconnect parts of the system. The local/non-local types have intimate relationships with the first-order/continuous types of quantum phase transitions.