Session H24: Focus Session: What is Computational Physics? I

8:00 AM–10:36 AM, Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Room: D167

Sponsoring Unit: DCOMP
Chair: Richard Scalettar, University of California, Davis

Abstract ID: BAPS.2011.MAR.H24.1

Abstract: H24.00001 : Computational Physics' Greatest Hits

8:00 AM–8:36 AM

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  Amy Bug
    (Swarthmore College)

The digital computer, has worked its way so effectively into our profession that now, roughly 65 years after its invention, it is virtually impossible to find a field of experimental or theoretical physics unaided by computational innovation. It is tough to think of another device about which one can make that claim. In the session ``What is computational physics?'' speakers will distinguish computation within the field of computational physics from this ubiquitous importance across all subfields of physics. This talk will recap the invited session ``Great Advances...Past, Present and Future'' in which five dramatic areas of discovery (five of our ``greatest hits'') are chronicled: The physics of many-boson systems via Path Integral Monte Carlo, the thermodynamic behavior of a huge number of diverse systems via Monte Carlo Methods, the discovery of new pharmaceutical agents via molecular dynamics, predictive simulations of global climate change via detailed, cross-disciplinary earth system models, and an understanding of the formation of the first structures in our universe via galaxy formation simulations. The talk will also identify ``greatest hits'' in our field from the teaching and research perspectives of other members of DCOMP, including its Executive Committee.

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