Chiral symmetry and the Yang--Mills gradient flow
In the last few years, the Yang--Mills gradient flow was shown to be an attractive tool for non-perturbative studies of non-Abelian gauge theories. Here a simple extension of the flow to the quark fields in QCD is considered. As in the case of the pure-gauge gradient flow, the renormalizability of correlation functions involving local fields at positive flow times can be established using a representation through a local field theory in 4+1 dimensions. Applications of the extended flow in lattice QCD include non-perturbative renormalization and O(a) improvement as well as accurate calculations of the chiral condensate and of the pseudo-scalar decay constant in the chiral limit.