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Half-wormholes in SYK with one time point

Baur Mukhametzhanov

SciPost Phys. 12, 029 (2022) · published 19 January 2022


In this note we study the SYK model with one time point, recently considered by Saad, Shenker, Stanford, and Yao. Working in a collective field description, they derived a remarkable identity: the square of the partition function with fixed couplings is well approximated by a "wormhole" saddle plus a "pair of linked half-wormholes" saddle. It explains factorization of decoupled systems. Here, we derive an explicit formula for the half-wormhole contribution. It is expressed through a hyperpfaffian of the tensor of SYK couplings. We then develop a perturbative expansion around the half-wormhole saddle. This expansion truncates at a finite order and gives the exact answer. The last term in the perturbative expansion turns out to coincide with the wormhole contribution. In this sense the wormhole saddle in this model does not need to be added separately, but instead can be viewed as a large fluctuation around the linked half-wormholes.

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