Applying the variational principle to (1+1)-dimensional quantum field theories
We extend the recently introduced continuous matrix product state (cMPS) variational class to the setting of (1+1)-dimensional relativistic quantum field theories. This allows one to overcome the difficulties highlighted by Feynman concerning the variational procedure applied to relativistic theories, and provides a new way to regularize quantum field theories. A fermionic version of the continuous matrix product state is introduced which is manifestly free from fermion doubling and sign problems. We illustrate the power of the formalism with the simulation of free massive Dirac fermions, the Gross-Neveu model, and the Casimir effect. We find that cMPS can capture chiral symmetry breaking with absolute scaling of the chiral parameter, and that boundary effects can be accommodated with modest computational effort.