We calculated some of the critical exponents of the directed percolation universality class through exact numerical diagonalisations of the master operator of the one-dimensional basic contact process. Perusal of the power method together with finite-size scaling allowed us to achieve a high degree of accuracy in our estimates with relatively little computational effort. A simple reasoning leading to the appropriate choice of the microscopic time scale for time-dependent simulations of Markov chains within the so called quantum chain formulation is discussed. Our approach is applicable to any stochastic process with a finite number of absorbing states
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