Due to the one-day shift of the entire conference programme relative to other years, Thursday instead of Wednesday was the short day. In the morning, there were parallel sessions. The most remarkable thing to be reported from those (from my point of view) is that MILC are generating a=0.03 fm lattices now, which handily beats the record for the finest lattice spacing; they are observing some problems with the tunnelling of the topological charge at such fine lattices, but appear hopeful that they can be useful.
After the lunch break, excursions were offered. I took the trip to Himeji to see Himeji Castle, a very remarkable five-story wooden building that due to its white exterior is also known the "White Heron Castle". During the trip, typhoon Nangka approached, so the rains cut our enjoyment of the castle park a bit short (though seeing koi in a pond with the rain falling into it had a certain special appeal to it, the enjoyment of which I in my Western ignorance suppose might be considered a form of Japanese wabi aesthetics).
As the typhoon resolved into a rainstorm, the programme wasn't cancelled or changed, and so today's plenary programme started with a talk on some formal developments in QFT by Mithat Ünsal, who reviewed trans-series, Lefschetz thimbles, and Borel summability as different sides of the same coin. I'm far too ignorant of these more formal field theory topics to do them justice, so I won't try a detailed summary. Essentially, it appears that the expansion of certain theories around the saddle points corresponding to instantons is determined by their expansion around the trivial vacuum, and the ambiguities arising in the Borel resummation of perturbative series when the Borel transform has a pole on the positive real axis can in some way be connected to this phenomenon, which may allow for a way to resolve the ambiguities.
Next, Francesco Sannino spoke about the "bright, dark, and safe" sides of the lattice. The bright side referred to the study of visible matter, in particular to the study of technicolor models as a way of implementing the spontaneous breaking of electroweak symmetry, without the need for a fundamental scalar introducing numerous tunable parameters, and with the added benefits of removing the hierarchy problem and the problem of φ4 triviality. The dark side referred to the study of dark matter in the context of composite dark matter theories, where one should remember that if the visible 5% of the mass of the universe require three gauge groups for their description, the remaining 95% are unlikely to be described by a single dark matter particle and a homogeneous dark energy. The safe side referred to the very current idea of asymptotic safety, which is of interest especially in quantum gravity, but might also apply to some extension of the Standard Model, making it valid at all energy scales.
After the coffee break, the traditional experimental talk was given by Toru Iijima of the Belle II collaboration. The Belle II detector is now beginning commissioning at the upcoming SuperKEKB accelerator, which will greatly improved luminosity to allow for precise tests of the Standard Model in the flavour sector. In this, Belle II will be complementary to LHCb, because it will have far lower backgrounds allowing for precision measurements of rare processes, while not being able to access as high energies. Most of the measurements planned at Belle II will require lattice inputs to interpret, so there is a challenge to our community to come up with sufficiently precise and reliable predictions for all required flavour observables. Besides quark flavour physics, Belle II will also search for lepton flavour violation in τ decays, try to improve the phenomenological prediction for (g-2)μ by measuring the cross section for e+e- -> hadrons more precisely, and search for exotic charmonium- and bottomonium-like states.
Closely related was the next talk, a review of progress in heavy flavour physics on the lattice given by Carlos Pena. While simulations of relativistic b quarks at the physical mass will become a possibility in the not-too-distant future, for the time being heavy-quark physics is still dominated by the use of effective theories (HQET and NRQCD) and methods based either on appropriate extrapolations from the charm quark mass region, or on the Fermilab formalism, which is sort of in-between. For the leptonic decay constants of heavy-light mesons, there are now results from all formalisms, which generally agree very well with each other, indicating good reliability. For the semileptonic form factors, there has been a lot of development recently, but to obtain precision at the 1% level, good control of all systematics is needed, and this includes the momentum-dependence of the form factors. The z-expansion, and extended versions thereof allowing for simultaneous extrapolation in the pion mass and lattice spacing, has the advantage of allowing for a test of its convergence properties by checking the unitarity bound on its coefficients.
After the coffee break, there were parallel sessions again. In the evening, the conference banquet took place. Interestingly, the (excelleent) food was not Japanese, but European (albeit with a slight Japanese twist in seasoning and presentation).