QMC in Cambridge and around the world

Quantum Monte Carlo (QMC)  is an exciting, modern computational technique which allows us to approximately solve the equations of quantum mechanics – which are far too complicated to solve exactly – and in most cases get essentially the right answer. Its key advantage is that, unlike with all other known highly accurate techniques, it is still possible to do the calculations for relatively large systems with many atoms  – providing you have a big enough computer (and QMC is quite capable of using the biggest). Used in combination with other cheaper methods, it provides researchers with the final building block in an atomic scale micro-laboratory on their  computer which can be used to simulate small parts of the real world. Its practical application to real-life problems – via a general, widely-distributed computer program system – has been pioneered in the United Kingdom by members of the Cambridge University Theory of Condensed Matter Group working out of the Cavendish Laboratory, famous throughout the world as the venue for amazing historical discoveries such as the electron and DNA. A number of their collaborators at various other universities – whose work is also discussed here – have also made fundamental contributions, both to the software, and to the field in general.

This page exists for the following reasons:

  • To tell you about the research of the U.K. QMC community. The site includes introductory and review information along with a library of as many of their relevant scientific articles as we can find (Click ‘Read’, ‘Community→Projects’ or ‘Community→Blog’).
  • It is the home of the Cambridge quantum Monte Carlo computer program system ‘CASINO’ . Here  you can find all relevant information about this code,  you can download it, and you can learn how to use it (click ‘CASINO’).
  • It is the home page of that considerable proportion of the world’s QMC researchers who meet annually in Vallico Sotto, Tuscany, Italy at the Apuan Alps Centre for Physics, and it provides a library of slides from essentially all the talks ever given at these meetings. The site also provides information about the annual QMC summer schools run by the TCM group at the same venue (click ‘Events’).
  • It attempts to provide a sense of community amongst QMC researchers; this is a participatory site where any approved user may contribute articles to at least the Blog and Projects section of this website (click ‘Community’). Active conversations also take place on the discussion forum – in practice mainly concerning the use and abuse of CASINO – but any relevant topics are encouraged (Click ‘Discussion Forum’).
  • It is the  principal online resource for developers of the CASINO program (click ‘Software Development’).
  • It provides access to tools and data vital to doing calculations, such as our library of pseudopotentials and corresponding Gaussian basis sets (click ‘Pseudopotentials’).

This website (new from November 2013) replaced an old one built with 1970s static HTML and frames  which, by the second decade of the 21st century, had begun to look rather tired. Not only does this new site have (we hope) some great content, but it has been designed to be as ‘social’ as possible: the site adapts itself for visualization on mobile phones, pretty much everything can be commented on, Twittered, Reditted, Facebooked, Google-Plussed etc., and content can be added by anyone who wishes to who is able to convince the Administrator that they should.

We hope you enjoy using these pages!

Mike Towler, Richard Needs, Neil Drummond, Pablo López Ríos

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