Thermal stability and fault-tolerance in symmetry protected topological phases

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A recent breakthrough in the condensed matter community is the identification and characterization of a rich set of ordered states, known as symmetry protected topological (SPT) phases. These phases are not only fascinating from the perspective of fundamental physics but have also found powerful applications in quantum computation. Very little is known about the thermal stability of SPT ordered systems, or whether their associated computational properties may survive at non-zero temperature. In this talk I will give a brief introduction to SPT phases of matter, and address the question of whether these phases can survive at non-zero temperature. In particular, I will focus on understanding the thermal stability and fault-tolerant properties of models studied in the theory of quantum computation.