We investigate the influence of time-varying environmental noise, i.e., temporal disorder, on the nonequilibrium phase transition of the contact process. Combining a real-time renormalization group, scaling theory, and large scale Monte-Carlo simulations in one and two dimensions, we show that the temporal disorder gives rise to an exotic critical point. At criticality, the effective noise amplitude diverges with increasing time scale, and the probability distribution of the density becomes infinitely broad, even on a logarithmic scale. Moreover, the average density and survival probability decay only logarithmically with time. This infinite-noise critical behavior can be understood as the temporal counterpart of infinite-randomness critical behavior in spatially disordered systems, but with exchanged roles of space and time. We also analyze the generality of our results, and we discuss potential experiments.



Research Center/Lab(s)

Center for High Performance Computing Research

Keywords and Phrases

Group Theory; Intelligent Systems; Monte Carlo Methods; Statistical Mechanics; Critical Behavior; Disordered System; Environmental Noise; Logarithmic Scale; Nonequilibrium Phase Transitions; Renormalization Group; Scaling Theories; Survival Probabilities; Probability Distributions

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)


Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version

Final Version

File Type





© 2016 American Physical Society (APS), All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Aug 2016