HET Journal Club: Matthias Volk
Speaker: Matthias Volk
Title: Octagonal Symbol Alphabets: Algebraic letters in the symbol of the two-loop eight-point NMHV amplitude
Abstract: It is widely expected that NMHV amplitudes in planar, maximally supersymmetric Yang-Mills theory require symbol letters that are not rationally expressible in terms of momentum-twistor (or cluster) variables starting at two loops for eight particles. Recent advances in loop integration technology have made this an experimentally testable hypothesis: compute the amplitude at some kinematic point, and see if algebraic symbol letters arise. We demonstrate the feasibility of such a test by directly integrating the most difficult of the two-loop topologies required. This integral, together with its rotated image, suffices to determine the simplest NMHV component amplitude: the unique component finite at this order. Although each of these integrals involve algebraic symbol alphabets, the combination contributing to this amplitude is---surprisingly---rational. We describe the steps involved in this analysis, which requires several novel tricks of loop integration and also a considerable degree of algebraic number theory. We find dramatic and unusual simplifications, in which the two symbols initially expressed as almost ten million terms in over two thousand letters combine in a form that can be written in five thousand terms and twenty-five letters.