The variational method is a powerful approach to solve many-body quantum problems non perturbatively. However, in the context of relativistic quantum field theory (QFT), it needs to meet 3 seemingly incompatible requirements outlined by Feynman: extensivity, computability, and lack of UV sensitivity. In practice, variational methods usually break one of the 3, which translates into the need to have an IR or UV cutoff. I will explain how a relativistic modification of continuous matrix product states allows us to satisfy the 3 requirements jointly in 1+1 dimensions. Optimizing over this class of states, one can solve scalar QFT without UV cutoff and directly in the thermodynamic limit, and numerics are promising. I will try to cover both the general philosophy of the method, the basics of the computations, and mention the many open problems.
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