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Computational Physics

Vak 2015-2016

Admission Requirements

Knowledge of statistical physics is expected, as well as basic programming skills


An important aspect of physics research is modeling: complex physical systems are simplified through a sequence of controlled approximations to a model that lends itself for computations, either analytic or by computer. In this course, the origin of a number of widely used models will be discussed. Magnetic systems as well as the liquid-gas transition is modeled by the Ising model, polymers are often modeled by random walks, liquid flow is often modeled by lattice Boltzmann gases. Insight into these models can be obtained through a number of ways, one of which is computer simulation. During the course, simulation methods for these models will be discussed in the lectures as well as in computer lab sessions.

Course objectives

Being able to perform research projects in computational physics. This involves writing simulation programs, running these programs with well-chosen parameters, analyzing the results in such a way that physics questions can be addressed, and presenting these results in reports meeting generally accepted scientific standards.


Physics Schedule

Mode of instruction

One meeting per week, consisting of a mixture of lectures and supervised working on the projects.

Assessment method

The student produces two reports, a first one on simulations of the Ising model and a second one on simulation of self-avoiding walks.
The final grade is the average of the grades for these two projects.


Course material & assignments are placed on Blackboard.
To have access to Blackboard you need a ULCN-account.Blackboard UL

Reading list

see Blackboard


Lecturer Prof.dr.G.Barkema(Gerard)