Estimating the Number of Stable Configurations for the Generalized Thomson Problem
Author(s)Calef, Matthew; Griffiths, Whitney; Schulz, Alexia
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Given a natural number N, one may ask what configuration of N points on the two-sphere minimizes the discrete generalized Coulomb energy. If one applies a gradient-based numerical optimization to this problem, one encounters many configurations that are stable but not globally minimal. This led the authors of this manuscript to the question, how many stable configurations are there? In this manuscript we report methods for identifying and counting observed stable configurations, and estimating the actual number of stable configurations. These estimates indicate that for N approaching two hundred, there are at least tens of thousands of stable configurations.
Journal of Statistical Physics
Calef, Matthew, Whitney Griffiths, and Alexia Schulz. “Estimating the Number of Stable Configurations for the Generalized Thomson Problem.” Journal of Statistical Physics 160.1 (2015): 239–253.
Author's final manuscript