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Bad Honnef Physics School on

Computational Physics of Complex and Disordered Systems

supported by the Wilhelm and Else Heraeus Foundation

Organized by
Alexander K. Hartmann (U Oldenburg) and A. Peter Young (University of California)

20 - 25 September, 2015, Physikzentrum Bad Honnef, Germany


Ordered and regular systems, such as crystals or simple gases, can be well described by analytical theories. Real systems, however, are often non-ideal, non-regular or disordered. Examples are metallic alloys, glasses, cell membranes, polymer mixtures, or even trans-physics problems such as optimization problems or social networks.

The existence of disorder often leads to behavior which is different from, and more complex than, that of ordered systems. As a result, disordered and glassy systems have been active fields of research for several decades because of their intrinsic interest. Unfortunately, the inclusion of disorder often makes analytic methods impossibly difficult. Hence, most of these problems can only be treated numerically by using efficient algorithms and high-performance computers.

Computer simulations play an ever increasing role in physics research. For example, more than 20% of all publications in Physical Review Letters are concerned, at least partially, with numerical methods. The reason for this success is that, with the widespread availability of powerful computing facilities, computer simulations allow to us study systems which are intractable analytically, to measure “arbitrary” quantities which are out of reach of experiments, and to study a wide range of models, some of which are very close to experiment while others are very artificial but contain an important piece of physics.

This school will provide an introduction to the field, algorithmic techniques, and selected up-to-date research topics. In particular, an introduction to the different types of disordered systems will be given. Furthermore, Monte Carlo, Molecular dynamics, network analysis approaches, as well as some combinatorial optimization problems and algorithms will be explained. The lectures will be accompanied by extensive hands-on numerical exercises (students will be required to bring their own laptops). Finally, some modern applications will be presented, including, for example, glasses, spin glasses, phase transitions in optimization problems, and non-equilibrium (ageing) phenomena.

The school addresses students which have a physics background and basic knowledge in a higher programming language. like Pascal, C/C++, or Fortran. Furthermore the participants should have some knowdledge in Statistical Mechanics on undergraduate level. Experience with Computational Physics is not required but advantageous.

All participants will receive a free copy of the textbook “Big Practical Guide to Computer Simulations” (author: A.K. Hartmann, World Scientific, Singapore, 2015).

Lecturers/ Organizers:
  • Baruch Barzel (Bar-Ilan University, Ramat-Gan, Israel)
  • Daniele Coslovich (Université Montpellier, France)
  • Alexander K. Hartmann (University of Oldenburg, Germany)
  • Helmut G. Katzgraber (Texas A&M; University, College Station, USA)
  • Walter Kob (Université Montpellier, France)
  • Werner Krauth (Ecole Normale Supérieure Paris, France)
  • Andrew J. Ochoa (Texas A&M; University, College Station, USA)
  • Roberta Sinatra (Northeastern University, Boston, USA)
  • A. Peter Young (University of California, Santa Cruz, USA)
  • Zheng Zhu (Texas A&M; University, College Station, USA)


Registered participants

FEES     200 € full board and accommodation (for DPG* members 100 € )
* The German Physical Society (DPG)

Registration closed

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